Are you a teacher who has welcomed your greatness? Do you consider yourself a great teacher? If you answered anything but yes to either of these questions, or if you hesitated in answering at all, then please keep reading.
What do I mean by welcome greatness? First, let’s clearly define the meaning, and then I’ll convey your greatness, and what it can mean for you. Having a common understanding of what greatness is, will make it easier for us to welcome it.
If you were to look up the word in the dictionary, you would find that it essentially means “of an extent, amount, or intensity considerably above the normal or average”. Add the suffix ness to the word great, and you have the word greatness; meaning the quality of being great, or in other words, the quality of being of an intensity considerably above the normal or average.
Knowing the definition of greatness is one thing, seeing greatness within ourselves is something completely different. With that being said, I’d like you to give something a try. Close your eyes, and consider for a few moments who you are in as much detail as possible, specifically as it relates to the type of teacher you’ve become and how you show up in your classroom/the world day in and day out. Next, make a list of words to describe yourself as you are today. After you’ve done this, I’d like you to close your eyes again, and imagine for a few seconds, the following: imagine yourself in your ideal state, see yourself as that teacher you’ve always wanted to be, consider the amazing impact that you will one day have on your community and the world, create a vision of how you wish your students, their parents, and your colleagues saw you. Envision in precise detail that grander idealized version of you that you would like your grandchildren/future grandchildren to remember you as. Go ahead and take a minute or so to do this. Now, write a list of words that describe this potential you. Did you like what you saw? Was it anywhere close to your initial consideration of the teacher you’ve become?
What you’ve just done is experimented with your greatness. You experienced your life and your achievements as a teacher, at an extent, amount, and intensity that is considerably above your normal you. I sincerely hope you liked what you saw. It was after all, your greatness.
The Attainment of Greatness
Now the challenge many teachers face (to clarify, when I say many, by no means am I suggesting most or all) is having their greatness become an actual reality. Many teachers are burned out, overwhelmed, or have just slipped into to the safe harbors of the known. It’s my belief that many teachers shy away from their greatness because they don’t believe it’s attainable with the time and current resources available to them. Does this sound familiar? I’d like to suggest otherwise, and help you to realize that the great teacher within you is alive and well, and is but waiting for you to bring it to life. What if you chose just one term on your ideal qualities list, and went after that today? What if you did it tomorrow? The famous German writer Johan Wilhem Von Goethe once proclaimed “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” Fortunately for you, you now have a more precise picture of what your greatness is, so you essentially have more power to bring it to life. Clarity precedes better decisions and better decisions precede better results. What is one new or different decision you can make today, to generate different results?
So by now you may be asking yourself “what is the purpose of all this greatness talk?” The answer is simple. I believe, great students, and great outcomes stem from having great teachers. And I know you have greatness within you. Todd Whitaker, in his book What Great Teachers Do Differently sums it up nicely when he states, “What really makes the difference between two schools? What matters most in the classroom? Effective educators understand the answers to these questions; indeed, they know the real issue is not what is the variable, but who. Great teachers know who is the variable in the classroom: They are.”
You Have Greatness Within You
Your greatness is in you, waiting patiently for you to say the word, to make the commitment to tap it, and take the necessary action to bring it out. Welcoming greatness would be to heed Goethe’s advice, and to just begin doing something, anything, NOW, to bring the great teacher residing within you to life. I’ve once heard that you don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great. So imagine if you had absolute trust in yourself and in your ability to achieve the great things you have envisioned for yourself. What if this became your new modus operandi? Imagine what it would mean for your students, for their future. Your greatness is waiting for you, welcome it. Our youth will be better off because of it, and so will you.
What do think? Should teachers welcome their greatness?
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