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Image permission by Unsplash – photographer Jeff Sheldon

Everyone is looking for something different, an alternative to do things better, faster, more efficiently. We are in a period of time where our time is so valuable that we must maximize it by finding ways and things that help us to free up more of it. We can buy cleaning solutions that work faster and make things cleaner than the old stuff we used for years. We can use over the counter medicine that cures what ails you days faster than the “other stuff”. Or at least that’s what the commercials and advertisements tell us.

Yes, our time is very important. Especially when it seems as if things are happening faster and are more involved than they were just a few years ago. However, in the world of education here are three things with no substitute or alternatives. They just need to be done the way they have always been done.

  1. Committing to doing the hard work in education – There are tasks, responsibilities, routines, expectations, assignments and challenges in education. Whether you are a teacher, principal, supervisor, superintendent, or anyone in between, these all exist. Education is not an easy profession and we need to commit to doing the hard work required to make it and those in it the best possible. However, we all look for ways to become more efficient and effective in our educational roles, but let’s be honest; there is no substitute for committing to doing the hard work in education. Accept the challenge of working hard in our profession to better yourself, those around you, and those who come to us every day expecting to learn.
  2. Dedication to our profession – These may sound the same but they are not. There’s more to our profession than what happens in the schools or board office. Things happen all year long from professional development opportunities to advocacy for students, subjects, or our profession. Dedicating ourselves to our profession means that we understand our role as professionals goes beyond our title and job description. Dedication to our profession means we are dedicated to our own continued learning, dedicated to making the learning environment the best for our students, dedicated to helping others in our profession, and dedicated to bringing respect to the profession we have devoted our time, effort, and careers.
  3. Taking responsibility, especially when we are wrong – I remember as a brand new teacher how afraid I was to make a mistake or be wrong. This fear made me take a very cautious approach to my teaching and my responsibilities as a coach and advisor. However, we all make mistakes, provide suggestions that don’t work out, and have a bad day. One of the most important parts of being an educator is admitting we are not experts in everything, perfect at every single aspect of our profession, or able to flawlessly accomplish every idea we develop or is presented to us. This doesn’t mean we don’t try. It means we take responsibility and admit when we can’t do something or when we get it wrong. Taking responsibility as an educator is essential to making our profession better.

Where are you as an educator in respect to these three things that there is no substitute for in our profession? Are there others?