On Thursday evening, I was asked to speak at Upper Canada College to a number of teachers at the beginning of their careers as a part of their professional development program. Preparing for the evening provided me with an opportunity to pause and reflect on my career path and the things I have learned. Like most lessons, they come with hindsight. The preparation also reminded me of the ongoing importance of providing context for others about decisions and directions. In our roles as educators- and as life-long learners- explaining what guides our decisions and learning is particularly helpful for those we lead, teach or support.
My lessons learned, thus far?
- Consider every opportunity that is put in front of you
- Stay connected to those who know you well
- If at first you don’t succeed, try again
- Follow your passions
- Do everything and anything to enhance your learning
- Make decisions based on your values
- Trust and listen to your gut- and stretch yourself; be prepared to leave comfortable places
- Sometimes a ‘usual decision’ won’t work- and that’s OK
- During difficult times, dig deep to identify what is important to you and let that be your guide
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help: friends, mentors, and coaches are sounding boards, so use them
I continue to have much to learn and suspect that the list will grow with each year and stage. I think we need to remind ourselves that often the lessons we want our students to learn are the same ones that we must also consider for ourselves.