The following excerpt is from “Innovate Inside the Box“:
There is never harm in positively and authentically acknowledging the contributions the adults in our schools make. Don’t wait for someone to leave your building to appreciate them! Say good things about them now, right in front of them! As former NBA player Jalen Rose has said in the past, “People will bring flowers to your funeral but won’t bring you soup when you’re sick.” Don’t wait for it to be too late to share a kind message. You will be amazed at how simple, heartfelt words can improve relationships with your peers and change the culture and environment for the entire school.
Here is something to think about; why is the phrase, “You can’t be a prophet in your own land” so prevalent in education? Why do we value the expertise of those across the world more than we value the abilities of those across the hallway? Do we feel that elevating others in our school or organization some way diminish our work?
I remember working with a teacher that I looked up to tremendously. He was one of the hardest workers that I knew, not only in school but outside of it as well. Not only was he a master-teacher in how he taught and interacted with students, but he also ran a company outside of education (totally unrelated) where he excelled at as well. I learned so much from him as an educator, and I know that I was better off because of his influence and mentorship.
I left that school and didn’t talk to him much after, and then I had heard that he had a sudden heart attack and passed away before he retired. I was heartbroken as were the countless lives that found out the same news when they heard of his passing.
I think a lot about his influence on me as an educator, and to be honest, a dad, even though I became a dad after he passed. I often shared with him how much I appreciated his influence, but not to the extent that it was deserved. I wish I could have shared that with him, and now I will never get the chance. I do my best to share my appreciation with others, and here is one thing that I have learned; I have never regretted sharing a kind word or an authentic compliment to someone else, but I have regretted not doing the same thing.
Teaching is hard. Life is short. Don’t wait until it is too late to share your appreciation with someone that has had an impact on you, your school, or students.
We would tell our students to do the same thing, and I am trying my best to model it myself.