Sunday, April 27, 2014

Serving Others Still A Constant In The Changing World of Education

      With so much changing and evolving daily in education, as well as the world as a whole, we are naturally also looking for the constants.  What are things that will seemingly always be relevant to the success of those working in and experiencing EDUCATION?
     I was recently reminded of one of those constants.  It’s really one of the foundational themes for those that work in education.   This is the idea that we are SERVANTS.  Our mission, our passion, our purpose and our calling have to be based on the overall idea of serving others.  Education is a service-oriented endeavor.
     With educators, or anyone working in education, this appears to be the simple dividing line.  Educators and employees of educational institutions who view themselves as serving others tend to be more successful, happy, respected and fulfilled.  Those that often get in trouble (moral or legal indiscretions), or whom have large amounts of dissatisfaction, tend to be those that have forgotten whom they serve, or never viewed their role that way to begin with at all.

    Many educators had some sort of calling to work in this unique field.  There was something about helping and supporting young people, along with trying to make the world a better place that was part of the foundational motivation in becoming an educator.  We often see those that don’t like their jobs or even complain about their jobs in education are also those that may have again either lost the connection to this calling or never had it in the first place.
     There are so many things to improve in education.  And educators need to continue to work to lead those necessary improvements.  However, better curriculum, instruction, technology, support, finances, ideas, programs and more, won’t have the necessary impact unless we also have the commitment to serving others. 
      And this applies to all who work in education.  In my 24-plus years, I have witnessed that some of our best servants, role models and those with a calling, are not only the teachers or those charged with education, but all of the support personnel as well.  I have worked at many school sites and have noticed that students depend on the modeling, counseling, support and personal connections from those in all of the “classified” positions as well.  That’s right.  Our secretaries, maintenance people and food service individuals are not only important to the functioning of schools, but to the heart as well. 
    Notice which of these support personnel are happy, satisfied, successful, liked by students and staff.  They are the ones that approach their positions from the service mentality.  Regardless of their daily student contact, they realize that they are public servants who do serve students, staff, parents and community members. 

      Again, they are working and performing for a higher purpose.  They see themselves as servants and want to make the lives of those around them better.  They do this by serving – modeling, volunteering, comforting, supporting, reaching out, helping and generally going above and beyond their required duties.  Why?  Because they get it.  They know that their role is to help in the success of others.  And ironically, they seem to be the ones that are the most successful themselves.
      Isn’t this what educators should be doing too?  Should we not always be invested in the success of others?  If educators have the calling to serve others and work towards their success, will they go wrong?
    Anyone who works in the public or private sector will have conflicts, critics or even non-supporters.  However, if we are servants who continue to reflect on our original calling and purpose, I imagine that we will also have lots of support, success and happiness.
    Anyone who works in schools will have some rough days and times and may even question things related to their role, purpose or success.  But the solution lies in reflecting and finding the path back to the original motivation for wanting to work in education.  When it’s all said and done, it’s the best job in the world because WE GET TO SERVE OTHERS everyday!!!

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