Teach & Serve II, No. 13 – Have a Mission

Teach & Serve II, No. 13 – Have a Mission

November 2, 2016

There’s a good question for the day: why are you in education?

Let’s bracket something we (hopefully!) know: our jobs working with students, their families, our colleagues and fellow teachers in education are really wonderful. We are lucky to have them; blessed to do the work. In many instances – more often than not, I trust – our work is life supporting and life giving. Being in education is a good gig.

However, those of us in the work know that these jobs we do can also be challenging. They can be frustrating. They can be hard.

When the work gets to us and when those with whom we work drive us down (yes, it happens), where do we turn? What keeps us going? How do we recharge?

startwithwhyCertainly we can turn to colleagues. We can rely on family. We can touch base with students. We can center ourselves with friends. All of these people can be sources of great support and can help carry us through the more difficult moments in the work.

But I am not sure they are enough. I am not sure our support structures are enough to rely upon when challenges mount.

To do the work, to do it well, to weather the storms, it would be best if we believed. It would be best if we had faith. It would be best if we embraced the work as our mission.

Our support systems can help us through moments. They can explain and contextualize and assist. But can they tell us why we have chosen this work? Can they tell us why we do what we do?

There’s a good question for the day: why are you in education?

It’s a simple question. Is the answer simple?

My argument? The answer should be simple. Your answer should be direct. Concise. Simple.

Why do you teach? Why do you administrate? Why are you in education?

Can you answer it? Can you do so succinctly?

Your answer is your mission.

Simon Sinek about whom I’ve written before is an author and consultant on leadership. He has written an entire book called Start with Why. I highly recommend it. Though it’s perhaps weighted too much towards business for our purposes as educators, it does reveal a significant truth: those who know why they do what they do tend to be happier, more fulfilled and more successful.

Do you have a mission in your work? Do you have a mission as an educator? Can you state it clearly and simply?

Do you have a mission?