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Episode 1.5 | Legacy - Educator Edition

Updated: Jul 27, 2020


Season One | Episode 1- Education Edition


The concept of legacy 100% translates into the school and classroom.

You may not often think about why you joined this profession. Just

the practice of just reminding yourself of why you became an educator or school leader in the first place can change your life and daily experience in teaching. Think of it as a non-negotiable self-care portion of your teaching practice. When I thought about legacy for educators, I thought about what our student's perception is about us as teachers and what they would remember long after they are gone.

This makes me think about my worst fear as a teacher that always kept me in check when I was in the classroom…we have all seen this scenario play out before in one way or another.

We turn on the news or see the stories online, where our students grow up and "blow up" (receives notoriety for their accomplishments, for those less familiar to the slang). They are on the news or youtube, etc. talking about a teacher that didn't believe in them or said they would never amount to anything. While I think I would never do or say something that would land me in the news. I did think about what I was doing and how I would be remembered by my students. In a moment of frustrations, that thought alone was a strategy to keep my composure and emotional constancy to not land myself on the news.

But we are talking about legacy here… what would your students say about you and what you value in your classroom?

You are going to hear me say this quite often… nothing is more powerful, and all learning revolves around relationships. The most influential teachers with the best classroom management and academic results have the best relationships with their students. Think about it… the best years of your education growing up likely happened at the hands of someone who took the extra step. You are contributing to their legacy by remembering them for that reason and teaching with the mindset of legacy building yourself. That's how you are paying it forward.

Now let's consider what could occur if you don't take that step...

Imagine you are very strict with routines and procedures and respond more punitively than positively when a rule is broken. You may have heard advice from a veteran educator to not smile until November. You may raise your voice at students because you are so frustrated with the various behaviors in your classroom. You never learned about these outbursts in undergraduate or graduate studies. You may only smile and show your fun side on holidays and right before the break and at class parties. You may even tell students that they can only have fun at those parties, and now that is OVER once they enter the classroom. It sounds crazy, but it happens. Stick with me here...

If you go to ask your students... what do I value most in this class? Why do you think I am a teacher or a school leader? Don't be surprised if you do not get the response aligned with helping them become a better person, to learn, and grow… Instead, you may hear things like, "you value turning our homework in the bin in the morning, you value us being silent all the time, or you became a teacher just to make money." It's the greatest tragedy of being a teacher, to not be able to truly see how all your students turn out after pouring your mind and soul into their learning for a year. I'm sure you are not putting in that work, all those years of school, and joining that teacher preparation program just to be remembered by your students for the reasons I just mentioned or reasons similarly not as impactful and uninspiring.

So think about it… did you really become a teacher to make that level of impact on your students? How can you make a deeper connection with your students where you both genuinely cant wait to get there in the morning? Relationships.

I want to believe that no one signs up to be an educator to remove and divorce themselves from their interests and personality when they walk through the doors of the school. Are you finding ways to showcase joy? Are they witnessing you in stride and loving it? Not just surviving. But, thriving and striving for more?

I get it, there are a thousand reasons why you may not feel joy because of what comes with the profession. Think about the sphere of control. Where you have this target and in the very center, you have all the things that are in your control (like your tone, attitude, word choice, and how you show up for your students). On the outside of the circle are all the things that are indeed out of our control. The sooner you leverage all the power you have inside the inner circle, the more productive and effective, you will feel as an educator.

We can't be a contradiction to the motivational posters hung up in the classroom, our bulletin boards, and core values we may hear in the announcements or posted around the school. Just like other adults in the lives of students, they also get to see what is possible for their lives through the prism of their teachers. When children are really clear on why you show up for them, they trust it… They can't learn from someone they simply don't trust and believe.

Here is where I want to provide for you. Before you go to check out the Questions to Connections | Educator Edition for this LEGACY episode I would love for you to check out the Path to Meaningful Connections resource to just warm up the pathway to sharing with your students. If you already have strong relationships with your students, I would check it out to see if the phases and example questions can help fill any gaps. Think about the students that you don't know much more about than their academic levels and progress and start there with the Breaking Ground phase to strengthen that relationship. You might find that no one really asks them those questions…or any questions, actually.

They may end up one day… talking about YOU… as that one teacher that took the extra step to truly get to know them…

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Catch you in the next one!

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