"Creativity is contagious, pass it on." ~Albert Einstein

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Change Will Do You Good



Let's flash back twenty years ago to the summer of 1997.   I had not yet started my teaching career.  I was the Parks & Recreation Director in the town where we lived.  My wife was in her second year of teaching 4th grade in the same town.   Boy, were we young.

 Earlier that Spring my wife's elementary principal had taken a position at a different school district.   The entire staff at my wife's school was dumbfounded when the administrator announced that he was taking a different position.  He was very successful in his position. His staff truly cherished him and his leadership abilities at their school.  I was confused as to why he would even leave.  The administrator had just built a beautiful house a year before.  His own children were students at his school. It was a surprise that he would even consider a different position.  In my mind, there were so many reason NOT to take a new position.

I was curious as to why this administrator would want to do something like this so I questioned him about it.  He was working in his yard one day as I drove by.  I pulled over and proceeded to have a conversation with him that would have a profound impact on me later in my career.  When I asked him why in the world he would want to take a different position in another school district when he had everything going for him, his response was simple.  He said, "I was too comfortable."  Perplexed, I said, "I don't get it."  He proceeded to tell me that I would "understand" someday and to never get "too comfortable" in my profession.   That was it.

Fast forward to 2011.

 I had a teaching job that I loved.  I was teaching social studies, doing some coaching and enjoying the fact that I went to a job each and every day that I enjoyed.  My wife and I had a pact that if a job were ever to open in a couple of districts that we were fond of here in Nebraska, we would apply.  Well guess what?  One of those districts had a job opening and my wife told me that she would like to apply for the administrative position.  I agreed that she should apply.  It would be a good move for our family. In the back of my mind I was nervous that I would be giving up a job that I loved if my wife were to get the job.  Then I remembered that conversation back in 1997 and the words "I was too comfortable."

It all made sense now!  I was too comfortable in my position. Yes, it was stressful knowing that I had to go out and find a new job, leaving the one that I loved.  It was so hard.  I thought I was going to have that job until I retired.  Looking back now, it was one of the best decisions I made in my role as an educator.

Change creates opportunity.  It may be scary as hell when pondering that change, but it's so beneficial when it happens.

Too often I see teachers that aren't happy in their current positions.  Some are overworked, tired and negative.  Others have worked at the same school their whole careers and are hesitant to change because "we've always done it this way," while others are stuck in a rut doing the same things year in and year out in their classrooms.

From my personal experience, changing jobs created a whole new world of opportunities for me as an educator.  I truly believe that it has made me a better teacher and all around better person.  It's changed my perspective.  It's opened my eyes.  I am glad that I was too comfortable so that I needed to get uncomfortable.

Maybe a change will do you good.


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