What are the perks that keep you getting up and going to work?
After talking to many people in the work force, I have found the common answers to be:
1. Connection and Collaboration
2. Clear and Defined Goals individually and as a team
3. An open channel of communication and feedback from a mentor
4. Flexible time off
5. Validation for work well done
6. Salary and Benefits
Yesterday, I met with a retired teacher, who happens to be a very valuable asset to our Board of Directors and a valuable mentor for me. Her passion for educators has not been minimized, in fact, I believe that the flexibility to concentrate on one area, the restored enthusiasm of aspiring teachers, has been the catalyst of our collaboration.
Here’s the thing, we both know what the wonderment of being an educator is all about. We know what it is to be bone tired at the end of the week, also believing that we pulled off a few miracles along the way.
We know the work is hard and many young people are looking for the kegerator perks on Fridays or the soft bean bag chair nerf ball throwing meetings.
What I have found is most employers for the 25-35 age group do not expect to maintain those workers after a decade.
Like educators, they leave for something that is a looser fit and allows them to stay mobile. They seek something more thrilling and I wonder when they get to the point of standing still. When do roots and families become more important than the constant yearning for something different?
Our mission, in education, is to find the golden egg. It is to figure out a way to keep teachers on an exciting career path.
We must provide support that is much more than a webinar or a Professional Development where most just want to go back to their classrooms and plan.
It's no wonder that after a short 10 year stint, there are teachers writing books about being burned out.
Personally, I doubt if teachers really hit their groove before the 10 year mark. They are experimenting techniques, ideas, changes to curriculum, new administrators with new agendas.
What I am saying is that if being a teacher gives you any leverage over other jobs you could have chosen, it is the ability to re-create a tired lesson, have flexibility when your life events get in the way, have a very real sense of family and pride in the people who are your school family. You don’t have this type of support in many other professions. There are never days that go exactly to plan and every day is different.
As my friend and I planned for another meeting with important people, I couldn’t help but think that here we were, working in our retirement, on the sunniest day of a very long wet week….and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Teachers, you are among the elite.
You should not be appreciated for a week, but for a lifetime.
I am giving all I have to raising you up.
Love, love, love what you do.
Thanks for listening.