When I started my educational career in the 1970’s, I didn’t really think much about what was next in my life. Everything just kind of snowballed along; and now it’s 2009, and I spend quite a bit of time planning the next phase of my life... the finishing of my educational career in a couple of years or so.
It seems that education has always been in some kind of mess since I began my mostly urban career. I have always been working at the impossible and loving it. I have enjoyed blazing my own path to most answers I have found rather than take anyone else’s path... translated: let me burn my own hand off on the stove because I can’t seem to learn from you doing it. But, for some reason, I have taken a particular interest in providing hints and directions for those who follow me. And, today’s post is all about... tips for the person behind the educator for a successful future:
1) Immediately begin contributing to an annuity and do so faithfully. The educators I have known who have been most happy with the prospect of retiring and their subsequent happily funded retirement are those who began annuity giving immediately. You might start out only contributing $25 a pay check (or even less) with some kind of plan of doubling it each subsequent year. You will never regret this.
2) While we push and push and push to raise academic achievement and a myriad of other really task driven circumstances, spend a bit of time on the humane and human part of the profession. Spend time with the people (both students and teachers). Know them and let them know you. In the scheme of things not much of what you did professionally will be remembered if your personal touch has not been developed. No matter how great you are (or think you are) and no matter how much of an educational savior you are... nothing you do will be of consequence without the relationships you develop. Take time for them.
3) Though much of the thrill of your life may come when you are out blazing educational paths and solving the unsolvable and doing the undoable, remember that your family requires tending. You can’t do it all, so never make the choice of not doing family... you will, without exception, regret not making family important.
4) Be grateful. Give more than you get. Love more than you are loved. Understand more than you are understood. Forgive more than you are forgiven. Thank more than you are thanked. Judge less than you are judged. Forgive little kids and old educators... they can’t help it.
5) Take your vitamins, watch your weight, and find some exercise you are willing to do (and that might take you through myriads of stair climbers, tread mills, and other future places to store your clothing) because you will regret not taking care of your body when it gets old and cranky.
Now go off and be successful. But don’t forget the part that counts... your relationships.
The opinions expressed in LeaderTalk are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.