In my search of a good inspiration keynote speaker, I watched a video of Inky Johnson. The title of the speech was “It’s Not Just About You”. The next day was Sunday and while in church I kept hearing a recurring theme of “it’s not about you”. I realized then, that this is a message worth blogging about.
Education is considered a service profession. A service profession can be described as any occupation that primarily helps others. Education is considered a service profession because educators’ goals are to help students learn what is needed to become a law-abiding, contributing members of society.
Most educators enter the field because of a strong sense to help in some way. I really don’t think educators enter this field with a mind to harm children. I really don’t think educators enter this field just to fill their time, either. Yes, there are some educators who decided to teach to have summers off… to have banker’s hours, etc. However, those are also the ones who leave after a few years because they quickly realize that education is far more work than they expected and were simply not willing to put in the work.
This recurring them that “it’s not about you” provoked me to reflect on if I am truly living out my job in education knowing and understanding that “it’s not about me”. I often say that we adults have already made more decisions in our lives than our students and they haven’t even begun theirs. We adults must remember that we are in education to provide a service to our communities. We are in education to make lives better for our students and their families. We are in education to break cycles of poverty. We are in education to break cycles of illiteracy. We are in education to make the world a better place.
In understanding that “it’s not about you”, I will accept challenges a bit differently. When I run into a roadblock and may wonder if it’s worth it, I will remember that “it’s not about me”. When obstacles are placed in my way (by outside forces I cannot control), I will remember to continue to fight the good fight… because “it’s not about me”. The theme “it’s not about you” should give us all a renewed call to do whatever is needed to make sure every child for which we are responsible has access to a quality education and has someone to make sure they reach their potential.
When you feel like giving up, remember, “it’s not about you”.
Paula Patterson is a Superintendent of Schools who shares practical points on leadership.