How can I elevate people while doing what I love?

This question has been my main self reflection as I prepare to begin a new school year with a brand new batch of smiling 8th graders (ok…being honest mostly-eye-rolling-but-occasionally-you-can-get-a-smile 8th graders).  I’m going to be perfectly transparent while writing this: Last year I was not happy with how I taught.  I came into last year on Cloud Nine after an amazing experience the year before, optimistic that the ball of awesomeness was going to just keep rolling for me.  Then throughout the year, my spirit was methodically beaten down.  The students were pushing my patience and classroom management skills, I was not able to teach the science concepts in ways that I wanted to (ways that deep down were honest to my philosophy of learning), and, the “apex of craptitude” for teaching: I felt major pressure from the end of the year standardized test.

I spent the majority of the summer (and running meditations, so this relates to working out) contemplating the post-mortem of “what went wrong” while also considering a pre-mortem of “how do I prevent this from happening again?”

I narrowed this down to one thing…I lost track of the “love”.  By that I mean, I lost my truth.  Through the year, I stopped teaching in a way that was authentic to who I am and as a side effect I was not able to elevate my students to success.  The guilt of feeling like I did them a disservice is still very painful.

Here’s the lesson: If you do what you love in an authentic way, people will naturally be elevated.  You can inspire people just by being a complete and honest you.   Continue reading