It’s Time We Had a Talk
This year, the past year of your professional life, was the easiest year you will have the rest of your life.
Yes, last year. Yes, the year when a new initiative was created by someone above you that you only half-heartedly agreed with. Yes, the year when the ‘tough’ class came through your classroom or building. That year. That year was easiest year of the rest of your career.
Think that is impossible. Look around.
Ask your friends and colleagues. Find someone with 20 years of experience and ask them if the job has gotten any easier. Inquire if they think the demands, pressures, and sequence of changes are any easier today than they were in 1998 or 2008 or 2013.
The answer is no. The answer is always no. The answer is no in our industry and in every other industry. We are in a constant race against time and progress – and they are not slowing down.
If you do not want this to be the case, there are only two options.
Option 1: Expect less of yourself. If you lower your personal expectations and find a personal status quo, your professional life may get easier.
Option 2: Expect more of yourself. In the famous words of Jim Rohn, “Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills.” Get better. Grow. The only way the job gets easier is if your personal progress outpaces the progress of the problems.
So, as I see it in we have two binary options – stay unfinished or be completely miserable. Let me explain, if we attempt to do the same things for kids in 2028 as we do today we will be woefully ineffective. Very rarely is someone who is ineffective at their job fulfilled by their job and happy in their professional life.
Okay, 2028 seems pretty far away. I challenge you to consider if it is really possible to make slight changes for eight years and then have a monumental shift in years nine and ten. Probably not. So, what’s the point?
The change in our world is constant. Our kids are different than they were ten years ago and will be vastly different ten years from now. Our communities are changing. Our world is fundamentally different and will continue to evolve. In education we must adjust to them and to our world (more importantly their world) or we are going to face becoming dangerously irrelevant.
So, as educators we have one choice. One option to stay relevant. One option to compete. One option to serve our kids with integrity. And perhaps most importantly, one option to be personally happy. That option is to stay unfinished. Embrace change. Love the grind. Have a deep, hard, introspective conversation with yourself that it is never going to be easier to be great at your job. And be okay with that realization.
And I hope – deep in my soul – that accepting the fact that it is never going to be easier energizes you. You were not put on this Earth to be average. None of us were. You have chosen to be a part of the best profession in the world. We have the opportunity to change lives every single day. It is an awesome responsibility, but an even more incredible opportunity.
Thank you for having this talk.