The Importance of Remembering Why We Do the Work

The pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.

I have yet to meet an educator whose reasons for entering into the profession do not include the love of kids. Yes, there are ancillary reasons for being an educator, including the love for a particular subject, the ability to innovate in your classroom, and community status. However, every educator I’ve ever talked to identifies the desire to support kids and help them grow and develop as their number one reason for choosing this profession. Superintendents are no exception to that rule.

As a busy superintendent, it is important to make time to connect with students and staff in genuine ways. To that end I work hard to be in our schools often to talk with kids and teachers and hear about how we can make our schools better. This week I had the pleasure of spending the day in a middle school science class helping students learn the concepts of density and buoyancy and inertia and force.  This experience gave me the chance to reconnect with kids and once again see the wonder and delight on kids’ faces as they discover something new.

It was thrilling to watch our fifth graders design vessels out of clay that float and load them up with “cargo” (paperclips). The winning group was able to add 34 paperclips to their clay vessel. As students worked they laughed excitedly as each paperclip was added to their vessel. During the sixth grade classes students delighted in learning about force and motion. Groups of students moved through well-designed stations and completed different mini-experiments that reinforced the concepts taught in class. While it is always fun to help students discover new concepts, having casual conversations with kids during recess or between classes allowed me to get to know our students better. I was able to supervise the games club during recess and chat with students at lunch and in between classes.  I even scored myself an invite to the fifth grade cartoon club. When I asked the “president” of the club if I could stop by sometime he excitedly answered, “HECK YES!” These are priceless experiences that help me reconnect with my purpose and reinforces the good work we are doing.

It is so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day hustle losing sight of what is really important and why we do this work: the kids. Spending time teaching our “end users” helps us to reconnect with kids and brings us back to our purpose. I look forward to continuing to spend time in schools and classrooms deepening relationships with teachers and students.  

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