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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Key Women Educators

We shape our own life stories. We control whether our stories are negative or positive. Educators shape the stories of our profession and impact future educators who are just discovering their career stories. We can encourage--or discourage—future and early-career educators by how we speak of our life’s work.

Our interesting and meaningful work is the elixir of educators everywhere. People once said, “Those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach.” That is belittling and offensive to me because educators teach the skills and knowledge necessary for the pursuit of all professions. Without educators, knowledge would be limited and stagnant. I am the first to admit that one’s students may—and certainly shall—know more about more topics and more fields of learning than the educator. However, it is the educator who fosters curiosity and encourages exploration into the known and the developing and the yet-to-be-developed. The educator opens the “window of learning” and cultivates students’ desire to know more, to be more, to take a body of knowledge beyond the present. The “gift of self” is what makes the work of educators interesting and meaningful. Attitude is key.

I’ve also heard non-educators say, “I would not be a teacher for any amount of money.” Those who say that give educators a “back door” compliment. Those words are a negative way of saying that educators have courage to teach those who are reluctant to learn; those who have not had opportunities or proper nurturing in confidence, manners, and engagement; those without apparent ambition; those who hunger for physical and social wellbeing. Those who “would not be a teacher” are (in general, of course) expressing admiration for those who face head-on the obstacles that are the results of an imperfect world and flawed relationships. I suspect that those negative complimenters respect those brave educators who are willing to give up their own comfort and niceties of life to help rising generations into a better world and life. They may be unaware of the joy educators find in the hard-earned rewards of teaching. Attitude is key.

DKG members are those brave women who give up much of their inner SELF to build a better world by building better human beings. Their challenging and interesting and meaningful work is not always noticed or rewarded by others. But they notice and they find their own reward. This is a characteristic of key women educators. Their rewards are intrinsic because they impact education worldwide. I exhort you to lift your colleagues, encourage beginning educators, and cherish seasoned educators. Attitude is key.

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