We are in the business of people, children to be specific. It is a rare space teachers work in with nurses, doctors, social workers, and coaches – we all wake up each day hoping to make an impact on the individual. The big dreamers, the visionaries in our fields see beyond today and believe this business of people is shaping our future world.
Teaching is deeply personal. I know plenty of full hearted people who work in sales or finances, but the day to day moments are different.
Teaching is deeply personal when a small child loses her grandmother. With tearful eyes, finds courage through writing with her teacher by her side.
This work is marked in the moments when a struggling reader, runs to tell the their teacher about a new book that seems to fit just right.
Teaching is standing shoulder to shoulder with parents who learn their child has a disability, yet promising they are not alone – that their beautiful child has an army of teachers fighting for a bright future.
We feel deeply when a frustrated parent writes partial truths about us on social media and the whole community believes it as fact.
It is personal when we walk through our towns and see a past student at the ice cream shop. We hope they will remember us, and to our delight, the whole family stops to chat, holding tight to that connection, willing it not to fade.
You see in most jobs, clients come and go. They are thought of for a time, then forgotten. In my career teaching kindergarten, then fifth grade, and now as an instructional coach I have never forgotten a child. Their memories hit me when I find a book they would have liked. I remember them at the oddest time, ice skating, driving in the car, bouncing a ball. I offer up these memories as prayers wishing them well and hoping for their happiness. It has been my privilege to work with some of the best teachers on the planet and I know they feel the same.
This work matters because it is personal. Teacher success cannot be quantified by numbers and test scores, though many believe this to be true. The success of a teacher is marked by the number of shoes she ties, tears she wiped, and coats she zipped. Success is the ability to stop your lesson and laugh with your students when someone accidentally lets out a toot. The success of a teacher is marked by the parents who were once full of fear and leave with hope. Teacher success is proven when a crying child climbs out of their van, but finds a bright smile the moment they see their teacher.
Yes we are experts in instruction. We are hungry for knowledge, inhaling book studies, summer institutes, late evening seminars. We take classes and meet with colleagues, always trying to grow in our craft. We adapt and innovate handling whatever new mandate or expectation comes our way – never losing sight of the business of people. The real beauty still lies in the humanity of our work, those magical moments of connection that change the trajectory of a person’s life, and ultimately our world forever.
Teachers I celebrate you this week and always. I moved from teaching to coaching for this very purpose, to honor your work, to fight alongside you, and to cheer you. Thank you for choosing the business of people. Our world, our communities, our classrooms, our children are well in your care.
I hope you found some connection here. Leave a comment or tag us on social media. Give a shout out to a teacher, or tell us your own teaching story.
Peace be with you,