Master Career Counselor

Carla Hunter, President of Career Span, Inc. is a Master Career Counselor (MCC) by the National Career Development Association and a Certified Career Coach by the National Board for Certified Counselors. She is an expert in writing resumes, effective job search strategies and interviewing success. Most recently, with over 20 years of navigating the complexity of today's world of work, she published "Finding Your Place in the World of Work", a career interest inventory (2014) and CareerView, an iPad app. As a private practice career counselor and a workforce development consultant, this blog is Carla's trove of ideas, trends, forecasts, and career tips for finding meaningful work.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Influential Power of a Teacher

Maybe it is the season of my life.  Maybe it is the recent reckoning I've had with life's fragility. Life altering events of beloved friends placing them at death's door have provoked me to ponder how I spend energy and what really matters.

People are the most sacred gift we will ever receive.  Ones who come and go.  Ones who stay. Ones you wish would stay longer but don't. Ones you wish would move right along.

In short, the depth and contrast of each event depends on the relationships we have or don't have.

Each relationship we encounter, no matter how brief or enduring, forms a piece of the tapestry of life's amalgamation of joy, sadness, success and failure. 

One of the most powerful relationships long overlooked is between a teacher and student. For better or worse, teachers are the branding iron of a child's perception of their future.  If a teacher takes the iron and burns words into a child's psyche such as "dumb", "trouble"  "stupid", "no good"... such words are seared forever in a negative 
cesspool of cynicism and self-doubt.
Teachers have the privilege and honor of influencing the developing compass of a student's natural ability to navigate a complex world.
Teachers are undervalued in our society.  I've no idea how many teachers teach because they want summers off or think it is an easy gig.  IT IS NOT. Those who do it for the wrong reasons give those who do it right a very bad rap. Many new teachers leave the profession in their first five year cycle. This is an alarming trend.  Is it because they thought it was easy and not so stressful?
I hate to say it, but many teachers inhibit effective learning because they don't know how to make real world connections to concepts taught in class. In essence, a teacher is the midwife helping to give life or death to a child's dream of who they can be. 

What incredible influence.

If you are a teacher, burned out and unhappy reading this post, PLEASE consider making a change for yourself and for the sake of your students. It is not a career for the fainthearted.

If you're a top earner in a successful business making so much money it becomes the golden handcuff preventing you from entering the is never too late.  Professionals transitioning to a classroom naturally mentor success and students need you now more than ever.

I'm thankful for teachers who have passion for what they do and see it as a calling, not a job. These teachers leave their mark forever. Sure, there is incredible politics and bureaucracy that mires and bogs down the learning process.

 No school is perfect. But at the end of the day, students always know which teachers truly care.

I recently had lunch with the most influential teacher of my life. Mrs. Oatley, a music teacher, entered the profession 40 years ago when I was in fourth grade.  She went on to become an elementary school principal and has made a huge contribution in the educational field. Now a consultant, she thrives in a life of great faith and love.

For me, she has always been a steady influence as I entered high school, then college and then into the complicated life of adulthood. I taught alongside her for five years as a colleague in my early teaching career.
She hasn't been in my life on a daily basis, but the lessons I learned from her are with me everyday.
  • Music is a sacred gift that reaches the soul when nothing else can
  • Faith is the central tenet of living because anything is possible
  • Love what you do and do it to the best of your ability
  • If you make a difference in one person's life then you lived well
For those who had Mrs. Oatley as a teacher, surely you remember her beauty and charm. She walked into the classroom with a smile everyday. 
Today, she is just as beautiful and her smile resonates as it did so many years ago. One of my business colleagues stopped by our table and took this picture:

Teachers like Mrs. Oatley take the burning iron of education and brand these words in the hearts of students:


Make sure to join our national Twitter chat called #Schools2Life with me and Edward Colozzi. It takes place on the 2nd and 4th Thursday evenings of each month at 8:00pm EST. 

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