Last year was a fantastic year for me but had one of the toughest experiences of my life when I lost my first dog, Kobe. On a day that I struggled so much and never wanted to come around, I now look back at my time with my good friend and think back with fondness. Kobe was the dog that I always wanted when I was a kid, and through all the pain that I felt that day, it was worth every moment that I got to spend with him. I still look at the above picture and she some tears, but they are happy tears as I was glad that I got that one last picture.
With all of the good times that I had with Kobe, I decided to go to the Edmonton Humane Society and add another member to my family, Odom:
And I still have my other baby Shaq:
Yes, I am one of those “dog” people. My dogs sleep with me every night, and we take naps any chance that we go home. This is something that is unique about me and makes me who I am.
The lesson I learned through all of the kind words about when I lost Kobe, and all of the excitement from others when I went and brought Odom home, and take pictures with him and Shaq is that, as educators, we are a group that cares about others. The caring and empathy that was sent my way through a very hard time by educators all over the world, helped me get through something that was very tough. We are in the people business and no matter the changes in education, no matter all of the reform that is happening, people need to come first. Sometimes we are extremely sad, and sometimes we are extremely happy. Sometimes we are in the middle. No matter where you, or your students, or your colleagues are on that spectrum, it will affect what they are doing. What we can do is just to continue to care about each other.
I look back at the beginning of my career and shudder to think of one of my favourite sayings: “I am not paid to be your buddy, I am paid to ensure that you do your work.” Now I can debate what being a “buddy” means, but all I know now is that statement was wrong. I don’t think about what I am “paid” to do anymore, but I think about it is important that we care about those we serve and work with. Doing that will help them do better in whatever their passions may be.
Want to make change in education? Care about people first, and the rest will come.