Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Why I Became an Educator

Let's face it. Despite the fact that this may be the most wonderful time of the year, it can be a pretty stressful time of the year, too.

We must fight back, and attempt to reduce our stress. If we do nothing, stress will engulf us and stress will win.

Recently I read a blog about things that educators can do to actively combat the stress that is associated with the holiday season.

One of the suggestions was to reflect upon why you became an educator.

Here I go.

Growing-up, the thought of becoming an educator never once crossed my mind. I vividly remember dreaming of two possible professions upon entering adulthood. One, I wanted to be a professional athlete. And two, I wanted to be some sort of sports journalist and/or sports reporter.

Like many, I went to college not knowing what I wanted to do once I finished college. In fact, I selected my college (Cornell College) because of the opportunities that I was presented in regards to
playing football. I gave it a shot; I played football in college for one year, but it wasn't for me. As a result, I decided to transfer to the University of Iowa - still not knowing what I wanted to do after college.

I started college at Cornell as a business major, for no particular reason. At Iowa, I started as a health, sports, and leisure studies major (or something along those lines). And as much as I loved taking courses that had to do with sports, I realized that this may not be the most marketable major for me to possess upon graduation. At the same time, since I was no longer playing football, I had taken up coaching youth (it was either third and fourth or fifth and sixth grade) football. I loved it. I loved working with kids. I loved being able to help kids. I loved the opportunity that I had to teach kids something that had been such a passion for me. I loved it so much that I decided that I wanted to get into coaching for the rest of my life. So...I figured that if I became a teacher, I would have many opportunities in the coaching field.

I applied, and was accepted into the University of Iowa's College of Education. It was a great move - not only was it the start of a career that I love, but more importantly - the College of Education was how/where I met my future wife.

Fast forward to graduating from college. I got a job! I was going to be a sixth grade language arts and literature teacher in Davenport, Iowa, I was also going to be coaching some high school football, and I was going to be coaching both the 7th and 8th grade junior high boys basketball teams. I loved it. I loved the competition. I loved working with the kids. I loved trying to teach kids some of the same values that sports had taught me. I loved being a positive role model for kids. I loved helping them become better both athletically and as people.

I don't remember what exactly inspired me to pursue my administrative degree, but I did. I enrolled in St. Ambrose University's Master's of Educational Administration program (in fact, my testimony for their program is still live on their website; funny/interesting to look back at what I said, six plus years ago). I wanted to become a principal (the following is a quote that I found on the St. Ambrose website (linked, again) that explains my rational).
"As a teacher, you can influence your class and those students, but as a principal, you can do it at a greater level. Instead of guiding 30 students, you can guide 30 different teachers with 30 kids each."
Fast forward again, and I became an elementary school principal in the summer of 2012. And while it is busy, and at times it can be stressful (like any job), it is the best job in the world. I can't imagine doing any other job. I love my job. I get the opportunity to work with kids; I get the daily opportunity to have a positive impact on a child's life. I get to work with adults, too, to help them have that same impact. It is why I became an educator. It is why I remain an educator.


  1. Glad that everything worked the way it did and you became a principal!!

  2. Thanks for sharing, and well said. I have just started my new career in education, leaving the business world to work with kids. It is a much tougher job than I expected, but well worth the hard work!