I’m saying it right now, right here.
I just don’t think that enough people are proud of what they do. I mean, in general, not just in education.
I was craving something just awful for me tonight. I know, I know, I should have eaten something so organic and natural it came from my backyard but honestly… I wanted McDonald’s fries. And, they are so far from real food, that nothing else fulfills that craving.
And guess what? They were wonderful. Sorry, not sorry. But here is the thing. The people that worked there are doing just that. WORKING there. I mean, I get it. Working at McDonalds has been a joke for years. But why? Why not just wake up and take PRIDE in what you do, whatever it is you do? If you don’t, or can’t, maybe it’s the motivation you need to do something else.
As I pondered what the sundae I decided to get was actually made of (stop judging me, I get it, it’s bad) I couldn't help but think about it further. I think every person has high and low points at their job but who is PROUD of what they do?
The first jobs that came to mind, of course, are the jobs where people are truly in it to HELP people. Helping people is something that you can “hang your hat on” when it comes to the end of the day. Helping people, no matter what, elevates your mood, makes you feel good, and increases the desire to do it over and over and over.
Maybe I should have told those people at McDonald’s how much I loved their product. How often do we do that? Why not send a positive e-mail, instead of just a complaint. Why not tell someone how the good thing made you feel, instead of going on social media to speak out about how awful something is? Our society is too focused on failure. Perfection is the goal. Wait, what? Why? That seems too far from reality and, yet, it’s the expectation. As a teacher, am I perpetuating it?
Teaching isn't perfect. It’s far from it. But I am so proud of what I do. Seriously. When I feel like I am helping a student it makes me shine. You know what doesn't make me shine? Handing back a paper to a student who fails. What does that mean? I didn't help them? I didn't help them enough? I don’t plan to help them? I’m torn on being proud of being an educator and also being the person that tells a tiny person they failed.
This past weekend, the most amazing, thoughtful, kind, charming, and intelligent lady I don’t *actually* know but feel like I have known for years began a “campaign” to raise my Twitter following. (@tritonkory, stop right now and follow her please). And here is the thing… I didn't feel like a failure because I wasn't at 1,000 followers or because I didn't make it to 1,000 followers. I felt honored and excited that someone cared enough about me to help me.
I also thought about other areas of my personal life. I fail often. I forget to turn in my library books, I forgot to pay the water bill, I said I would do something and I just didn't. You know what I have found? I may have to pay a fine or apologize but I get to try again. It makes me better. It helps me remember. It isn't one strike, you’re out.
So, as I start a new week tomorrow, I want to keep that in mind. I am proud because I help people. Am I helping or just serving people what they expect? I hope it is never the latter because that is not the peg I want my hat on.