Teachers are rock stars, plain and simple. As students head back to school, we want to take an opportunity to celebrate one of our favorite community leaders, teachers. Their summers are winding down, classrooms are getting prepared, sneak-a-peeks are taking place, and the first day of school is staring down at them.
Teachers hold a special place in my heart for two reasons. One, my amazing wife is a second grade teacher. She is a rock star teacher and mother. Two, many teachers played a pivotal role in my personal and professional development, all the way from kindergarten to graduate school.
This week we dissect six leadership lessons we can learn from this incredibly gifted group of people on why teachers are rock stars:
Teachers Challenge You
One of those teachers for me was Mrs. Duggar. She was my Current Affairs and U.S. History teacher. I was a subpar student at best. Had all the ability in the world, but lacked the willingness to excel. Fortunately, I was smart enough to skate by and fly below the radar. I heard later in life that C equals degree!
Headed into the end of one semester, she challenged me. I was carrying a high C with a few weeks to go. She said that if I made an A on my remaining tests and the final exam, she would give me an A in the class. It is sad that she had to do it, but it challenged me. I buckled down, made an A in the class and developed a love for history in the process.
Teachers See More
In addition to challenging me, she saw more in me. The best leaders see more in you than you see in yourself. Teachers do this well. She used to always push me to participate in Model United Nations, which is essentially the world of governance. Between a rigorous sports schedule and more importantly it being extremely early in the morning, I declined.
Looking back now, she saw further than I could. Today, my world is one of governance, city management. Teachers see more.
In blog post 010, we talked about interceders. We defined them as “someone or something that redirects your journey.” Teachers are interceders. They are so much more than their job description states. They are mothers, fathers, friends, and life changers to the kids they teach. Students walk into their worlds and their life is completely redirected for the good.
Another teacher that redirected my personal journey was Coach Scott Larsen. I played a lot of sports growing up. There were factors in some of the other sports that were out of my control. The beauty of wrestling was it did not matter how big you were, who your parents were, or how many sponsors you brought in. If you could not beat me in a six-minute match, the spot was not yours. He pushed me hard, but he valued my effort and willingness to get better. The hard work and mental toughness he taught me interceded my life and has carried me far in both life and career. Teachers intercede.
Teachers Are Tolerant
I would like to take the opportunity and formally apologize to every teacher I may have agitated, disrupted, and frustrated. I was not a bad kid, but when bored, found other ways to entertain myself that could disrupt the flow of class. Sidebar, while I wrote this I feared one of my English teachers is reading this with a red pen thinking that if I would have paid more attention in class my grammar would have been better!
I have coached a variety of youth sports for more than twenty years. To all of those teachers I owe an apology to, rest assured, I have been paid back. Thankfully teachers are tolerant.
One of the most ignorant things I hear is when people critique teachers for the time breaks they receive throughout the year. They obviously are not married to a teacher. I watch my wife grade papers late into the evening, come home exhausted after a long day of investing in children, work on her classroom on her summer vacation, and I could go on and on.
Teachers do not stop working when the bell rings. They often spend their own time creating meaningful learning experiences for students so that they stay engaged in learning. Teachers lay it on the line day in and day out to make their students better. It always comes with sacrifice.
Teachers Teach for Tomorrow
We have a special park that we recently opened in our city. Doyal Hill Park features an interpretive history area documenting the rich Black history in our community. One of the most talented people I know, Ron Huffman, designed a beautiful piece of public art for the facility. The steel figure is larger than life to represent the strength, power and impact that a schoolteacher has in their student’s lives. The figure is holding a book symbolic of education and holding a globe to signify that anything is possible with a good education.
Teachers have an awesome responsibility. The future is dependent on their craftsmanship. They teach for tomorrow.
Conclusion – Teachers are Rock Stars
For the record and to alleviate any concerns regarding my competency, I got my act together and was almost a straight A student in college. The Mrs. Duggars and Coach Larsens of the world interceded and redirected my journey.
Community leadership is the ability and willingness to better others and the world you live in. Teachers exemplify this definition. Let us unpack this for a second. Their world is education and others are their students. That is clear. Their ability is evident. It is their willingness I admire the most. Especially in the last year in the face of COVID-19, virtual learning, mask, you name it. Their jobs are challenging enough as it is without these circumstances complicating things.
We typically celebrate teachers at the end of the year. Join me in taking a time out of your day today. Make a call, shoot a quick text, or send a card to your teacher friends. Let them know in advance that you value them and are grateful for their willingness to impact young people’s lives this year. Teachers are rock stars!
Ordinary to Extraordinary Intersection
Got a teacher that interceded in your life? Did they believe in you more than you believed in yourself? Thank them. Know a friend in the community that teaches? Show your gratitude today.