I had a conversation with a teacher that I also consider a friend, and during that conversation I shared the news that someone we both knew was heading off to college with an initial goal of becoming a special education teacher. The basic response I received was: a) that was a dumb idea, b) teaching had changed for the worse, and c) retiring was the their #1 goal right now. This went on for about five minutes (I condensed the response a little for your benefit). In the final part of the conversation they circled back to the comment “The kids are still the reason I teach, and they are the reason I go to work ever day.” (fyi – the venue for this conversation was a birthday party)
This is not a post to criticize teachers – the individuals that do this work possess a servant spirit that is amazing and I have a lot of admiration and respect for those that choose to call teaching their career. In addition, my experience connects teachers and pastor’s as the #1 professions that receive way too much input from the people around them on “how the job really should be done”, which is not what I consider to be support. We all could and should make more efforts to support and encourage the people we know in these professions.
The one comment that has stuck with me from the conversation I described was the final one about how they do it for the kids. I know this person considers themselves to be a great teacher and I have seen them do a solid job. But my experience dealing with many of these situations tells me there is no way they can be at their best with the venom I heard pour out of their mouths in the situation I observed. If they truly believe what they said, then I am guessing they spend lots of time with their peers sharing the same information, spend extended time at home sharing the same thoughts with their spouse/family, and likely take those beliefs into any conversation with their leader around changes that need to happen.
Our actions follow our hearts. When our heart is not in our work, at best we are a B performer. (see trUTips #8 for more) If we bring those thoughts out as only criticisms and statements, without actively working to find a solution, at best we are B- performers. If I had to guess, a C performer is in the near future.
So we have a choice.
Every day is a new chance to choose
Choose to change your perspective.
Choose to flip the switch in your mind. Turn on the light and stop fretting about with insecurity and doubt.
Choose to do your work and be free of distraction.
Choose to see the best in someone, or choose to bring out the worst in them.
Choose to be a laser beam, with focused intention, or a scattered ray of light that doesn’t do any good.
There are good reasons for this person to feel the way they do. But the choice to translate those feelings into the actions that became my experience of them is their choice. And please don’t believe that this will have no impact on performance – because it does . . . it always does.