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Your Origin Story

Over the past several months, education has been under attack from many different directions. Headlines are filled with stories about inaccurate beliefs of what is really being taught in the classrooms, the looming teacher shortage, and legislative bills that make educators cringe, just to name a few. It’s as if educators are not human beings, but rather inanimate objects at whom throwing negativity is a non issue. How do we effectively address this without being drawn into the “us vs. them” battle? Let’s start by taking control of the narrative about our schools, our districts, and our classrooms.

We must take control of the narrative about our schools, our districts, and our classrooms. 

George Couros famously said, “we need to make the positives so loud that the negative becomes almost impossible to hear”. I have used this quote when I speak many times. It is such a true statement. After all, if we aren’t telling our story then someone else is, and we probably won’t like their version. It’s one thing to say, tell your stories, but what are the stories we need to tell. Think about it, every week you encounter many situations that can be a story you’d share on social media to explain and highlight what is happening in your classroom or your school. And those stories are good ones to share…BUT, to truly own the narrative and to remind the world that there are actual human beings working in the classrooms in our country, you’ve got to tell your ORIGIN STORY.


Everyone has a unique and very human story of how they became an educator. Some knew from the time they were little that all they wanted to do was teach school. Some came from outside industry, some came due to a love of a particular content area, some for the joy of working with kids. When you tell your origin story, it is important to share why you chose, and were chosen by, education. Here is a bit of my origin story to get your mind running:

When I was in high school, I was the kid who just went with the flow. I was a good, not great, student and spent most of my time focused on athletics. When it came time to decide what the next step was after graduation, I really didn’t know what I was interested in doing but I knew I was going to college. I chose to major in physical therapy because I thought our high school trainer had a really cool job. After an abysmal first year of college, I dropped out and figured I’d make a go in retail sales. It took very little time to discover how much I didn’t want that path and I returned to college. Still unclear on what I wanted for my future, I majored in business management. During the fall semester, one of my friends asked me to help him coach a basketball team. I went to practice and I was HOOKED!! I really enjoyed working with this group of kids, even though 5th grade girls basketball isn’t exactly high-level X’s and O’s. I changed my major at the end of that semester and focused on secondary education, with a goal of becoming a head basketball coach. Once I had landed my first teaching job, junior high science, I had the chance to coach and to work with kids in many different ways. I eventually moved to the high school level and was successful in completing my goal of being a head basketball coach. This lead me to educational leadership and eventually to being a principal and a superintendent. But I would never have found my calling for education if it wasn’t for finding a love of coaching and working with young people.

This is an abbreviated version of my origin story, but I’m sure it connected with you at some level and probably has you thinking about how you found your calling as an educator. THAT is the story you need to share. Let’s pull together and share WHY this is a great profession, why young people should be pursuing a career in education, and why the outsiders who want to tell us how to do our jobs (but have no interest in doing it nor clue how) need to get the facts straight.

Education is a fantastic career, a calling, a work of love and passion. We are in the people business, don’t forget that. We take human beings and help them learn to be better human beings. Who else can do that?

Thanks for reading my rant – I love this profession and want to do everything I can to protect it!!! Want to help out? Share this post and tell your origin story!!

Have a #RoadToAwesome week everyone


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