My current position in “the American workforce,” is that of teacher. I have to admit, I truly loves my job. Lately there seems to be a number of educators who are going out in public, be it via press interview or by writing a book, and discussing how stressful being a teacher has become, and how little respect they get as educators. Despite the current negativity associated with the teaching profession, I really enjoy what I do. It makes me happy when I know I can make a positive impact on the life of a child. Before becoming a teacher, I was a youth pastor for many years. This was a Godly calling that I accepted with much hesitance, as I had never seen myself in any type of mentoring/teaching role.
One thing I quickly learned in my first few years of being a youth pastor, God does not call the equipped, He equips the called. Those first years in youth ministry were mainly a molding stage. But I learned so much, and I definitely saw that God knew what He was doing when He called me to the position. As it turned out, I actually had an innate passion for working with kids. God had matched me with the right job (Hallowell, 2011). Next, teaching strategies, curriculum design techniques, and interpersonal skills were honed and built upon the passion for seeing kids succeed. From that point on, I began honing my skills as an educator in both the ministry setting, as well as the public school setting. Sure, there have been days when I reach my wit’s end, but the rewards always outweigh the miniscule problematic issues.
Mentoring, Disciplinarian, & Creative Co-Worker
I realize that for me to do my best work, I must be aware of my likes, and dislikes about my current position. By understanding what situations lead to stress, and dislike in the job, an employee can implement a strategy to help avoid, or better deal with, these issues as they arise. Likewise, when an employee knows what scenarios lead to joy and happiness in the workplace, they make themselves more aware of why they like the job, and this leads to success in the life of the teacher, and the life of the student.
As an educator at my current school, I see my role of educator as one that involves the roles of mentor, disciplinarian, and creative co-worker.
The role of mentor is crucial in that it allows for learning, on a personal level, to take place between teacher and student. Robinson (2011) explains this bond as one that helps develop the whole child, and not just their academic abilities, and should engage feelings, physical development, moral education, and creativity (p. 179). This type of relationship is important to the success of the student as it allow the student to see how valuable they are in the teacher’s eyes.
I like to think of myself as a well-rounded disciplinarian, not too harsh and not too lax, who understands the value of discipline in and educational environment. It is important that educators not get too strict, as that leads to communication breakdown in the learning process. I also understand that not incorporating any type of discipline, or only enforcing rules some of the time, makes for a learning environment that is disruptive and full of disrespect. Rules must be reinforced at all times, but I understand how important knowing the background of the student is extremely important when handing out disciplinary actions.
I also enjoy the luxury of being able to express my creative ideas to my administration, co-workers, and even students, knowing that the ideas I introduce will be taken into consideration and implemented if deemed effective. These three actions, and their subsequent reactions, let me know that I am a vital part of the educational system, and my input is not only desired by my employer and the students who cross my path.
After reflecting on my duties, and viewing my current position through the lens of Hallowell’s (2011) Job Fit Scale, I was surprised to find out how important my personal experiences were in the classroom. I’ve had many successes, but I’ve had many failures as well. By explaining my failures to my students, they see me as more of a “real person” and one they can relate to with reference to their own issues…even failures.
The culmination of student and coworker interactions, supportive staff, and parental involvement bring me to the conclusion that my present job is a perfect fit for me at this time. Once I complete my Doctor of Education degree, and more skills are added to my skill set, things may change, and a new job may need to be discovered. I am in the right position, doing the right things, and I can easily connect with the task, the mission of the school, and the people around him (Hallowell, 2011 p. 68).
Hallowell, E. M. (2011). Shine: Using brain science to get the best from your people. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press.
Robinson, K. (2011). Out of our minds: Learning to be creative. West Sussex, UK: Capstone Publishing Ltd.
By Mitchell Collin Fairchild