cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by ryanmickle

Pride. It is an interesting emotion. It can push us to great things or lead us in to difficult situations. I have been struggling with my pride over the last month and it is probably why I haven’t felt inclined to post during that time. As those of you who know me or who have read my recent posts, I have decided to take on a coaching job which will require me to leave administration and return to the classroom full time. I am very excited about returning to teaching, but of course I will miss some of the great parts of my assistant principal position.

Watching our staff do the amazing things they do day in and day out, you can’t help but be proud of them. I draw an immense amount of energy from witnessing the work they do, and the connection they create with our students. Recently, I was able to take two of our teachers to a division meeting to showcase some of the technology presentations they have shared with staff and students in our building. Watching them talk to administrators and technology leaders from all over our division, I was filled both with pride and a bit of regret, knowing that come September I won’t have the same opportunity.

To some degree we all define part of our identity through the work we do and position we fill. I know that I love to tell people that I work in education, and I love to talk with others about the joy of working with young people. I have enjoyed my year as an administrator, and I am sure I will return to administration fairly soon, but come June 30th that chapter of my career will close. A position I aspired to achieve, then worked diligently to fulfill, and I will walk away. It’s a little tough on my pride. I have been struggling with my identity as an educator. I have to change my position, which requires me to change my role in the school and also my relationship with colleagues, students and parents. Its not an earth shattering move, I know, but it is still a very big change when you have spent the better part of a year struggling to solidify your identity as an administrator.

At the division meeting I mentioned earlier, Brad, a first year teacher from our school presented his Facebook class page. He spoke about how quickly 100% of his students were accessing the page, how he was able to use a tool that kids already were familiar with and enjoyed using, and how his connection with his students had been strengthened through the use of this site. Later on in the week as we were on supervision, he told me about his favorite moments in his class this year. He talked about how the “Ah ha” moments when his students finally connected the dots and understood a concept really made his day. He also talked about trying to ensure he didn’t get distracted by the minor details and miss out on those moments with his class. Brad is an excellent teacher, but maybe more importantly, he is proud to be a teacher.

I have been distracted by the minor details of changing jobs and forgotten that I am proud to be an educator. Administrator, teacher, EA, coach, your role isn’t really important if you really care about connecting with students. There is no greater feeling, no prouder moment than when you help a young person achieve something they couldn’t before. I have been walking the halls of our school, watching our staff connect with our kids and yet I seemingly forgot what it felt like. I let my pride blind me as I focused on my silly job title.

My conversation with Brad helped me see what I couldn’t. Who I am, what defines me as an educator will never be my title, my salary or whether or not I have an office. What will define me is the care and dedication I give to every student who enters my classroom. In September, when I have that first “Ah ha” moment with a student, I will be reminded of what drives us as educators. And when people ask what I do I will proudly tell them that I am teacher.

3 thoughts on “Pride

  1. Not sure what level you teach, but any high school English teacher could wax poetic about the perils of hubris. Like any emotion, pride is all right as long as you make an effort to dwell in balance, and it’s clear from this post that you are doing exactly that. It’s funny, isn’t it, how the top-down model has made its way into our profession, and that getting closer to students is considered a demotion from a salary’s perspective. That’s been on my mind a lot lately too, as I consider moving ‘upwards’ myself.
    Thanks for the post!

  2. Hi, Jim.I never had a choice when I was selected as the Principal. I hated all the administrative work.Give me weak students anytime, I love teaching from the basics especially English. I really struggled to handle the school administration. I was disorganised and I was such a people pleaser. Before I found guidance from experienced mentors, I didn’t feel much like a Principal. Being a lot younger and female (this is Malaysia),it was difficult.However,my father was a retired Principal.He said to learn from anyone important in education system,I have to be humble.Beg if you must.So, I know a lot about pride and proud people. To be humble, because you are asking not for yourself,but for your school.To ask for donations or grants, I have to beg :).The point that I want to share is I learned to put aside my pride if I ever have to acknowledge my mistakes especially in front of teachers.Well, keep on writing with or without pride.Do the right thing RIGHT.

  3. Jesse, pride can be empowering, but too much can lead to arrogance. In your last paragraph talk about the pride of being an educator and making a difference. Pride without ego is the most powerful of all. Great post – it was worth the wait.

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