I recently did some work for a very cool company in the educational development space called Teq and was lucky enough to walk the halls of many K12 schools in NY State. Thinking about ways to improve the education process in today’s fast twitch, web-enabled world was head spinning.
One thing I noticed about some long-tenured teachers was that they were focused on retirement. Many would start off conversations with “Only 2 and a half more years and I’m gone.” Gone being the immediate prize. This got me wondering how many teachers actually rued the fact they were we close to retirement age. How many felt they were running out of time to perfect their craft and create a legacy? The insight came about when a teacher using interactive white board technology for the first time, said “I wish I wasn’t retiring so soon.”
I’d very much like to do some qualitative research with K12 teachers who are in their last 3 years before retirement (Here’s one for you Randi Weingarten), comparing teachers who are in countdown mode with teachers who feel they don’t have enough time to complete their mission. Studying the root of these two mindsets would help administrators tweak the system.
Teachers are as much the lifeblood of education as are students. Teachers who spend more time thinking about their legacy and impact they’ve had should be role models. Teachers biding time, not so much. We can help the latter by understanding and modeling the former.
Legacy is an interesting planning discussion. As you plan your brands and ask your questions, keep that on in mind. Peace.