Last month I was famous for about 15 seconds.
It changed me.
Here’s how it happened.
Last fall the district’s Public Information Office e-mailed my principal, asking for names of teachers who are inspirational. My principal, who values everyone at our school, offered the names of all the teachers. Nice try. They needed 1 name. She submitted mine.
I was then asked to set up a time to tape an inspirational video.
Sidebar: I do not find myself inspirational. I work hard. I serve. I stay out of the way and let teachers do the good work of educating the next generation.
Back to my story: A time was selected, I re-colored my hair, whitened my teeth, and chose a new sweater for my video interview, and I put on some eyeliner.
As I entered the recording studio, I met a fellow teacher who escaped The Killing Fields in Cambodia and came to America determined to get an education. THAT’s inspirational. Not me. I can’t top that.
So I sit down, not only worried about following the act of such an inspirational teacher, but also nervous that I’m going to start thinking about the things that really inspire me, thus making me cry. I was very worried about crying.
Within the first 2 minutes of the interview, I cried. That part was edited out, but I spent the rest of the interview trying to be inspirational, but not too inspirational, causing myself to cry.
Several months passed. The film crew came to my school and filmed me working with kids. The following week, I was able to see the finished product.
It was edited so beautifully and focused on the reasons I became a teacher. Preparing for the interview made me consider why I love education. Watching the video reminded me why I still love it.
This is why I became a teacher.
When I woke up the next morning, all I could think about was my video and the reasons I go to work. The video reminded me why I see education as my calling, my mission. After the video, I hopped out of bed in the morning and smiled as I opened my door early. I found myself high-fiving the kids in the hall more frequently. I made sure I checked in with teachers with a smile and an encouraging word.
The video inspired ME.
When the video went live, I received many nice emails and phone calls about how I inspired others. I received responses from fellow co-workers from my past, telling me my emotion inspired them. I was touched to hear how others were touched by my humble story. My discussion in the video about dissecting a cat (really?!?), opened the door for me to talk with the most behaviorally challenged kids at our school who were obsessed with the thought of dissecting anything.
I spent 2 weeks on the district’s home page. When I entered a room of 1st graders in the computer lab, they all shouted, “There she is!! She’s the one on our computer! Is she famous?!”
You’re not reading this blog because you care about me and my 3 minute video. You’re reading this because you’re interesting in being a better educator.
So my question for you is this: Why did YOU go into education? What was that initial spark? What makes you get up in the morning and keeps you late at work? If you had to create a 3 minute speech, video, or vlog about inspiration, what would you say? What do you believe? How do you want to be remembered?
You might think this exercise is a waste of time. As I stand on the other side of celebrity, I tell you it’s important to consider, especially at this exhausting time of year.
My 15 seconds of fame are over. I’ve been replaced on the district website by another inspirational teacher. I’m not asked for my autograph when I enter a meeting. My souvenir from my 15 seconds is the hope and passion that was rekindled.