February is a tough shift, isn’t it? The sky seems to only be available in varying shades of grey. The spring flowers aren’t daft enough to stick their heads out yet and it is unrelentingly dark, even when it’s light. This is the time of year when you hope someone else has gotten home from work before you and drawn the curtains. There is something so comforting about pulling into your driveway and seeing that cosy glow at the window that lets you know your people are home and safe.
School can be hard going at this time of the year too – full of grumpy and overtired children and staff who are marooned somewhere between the distant memory of Christmas and the hopeful promise of sunshine and green grass when the summer term finally arrives.
This is the time of year when, as teachers and school leaders we need to dig deep and remember why it is we do what we do.
So, why do you do what you do?
It’s February, I know, so I’m going to give you a free pass on that one and go ahead and answer the question myself. I do it for love. Yep, that’s right, I said it.
I work in education because I love what I do. I love the learners I work with and I love teaching and learning.
Did I see you flinch a little bit there? The L-word makes some of us a bit uncomfortable, I know. We are not sure if it is ok to say we love our learners. To say we love what we do. Isn’t it a bit, you know, personal?
Too right it’s personal. And so it should be. This is our passion, our craft, our hard work we are talking about here. This is what we are proud of, what we have invested our time and energy and talents and creativity into. We have sacrificed and made hard choices to give of our best and get the best out of those we work with. Why? Because we believe it matters. Because we know that we can make a difference.
If that’s not personal, then what is?
Fill your practice with love, let it infuse every word, every action and interaction. Be guided by what feels right and when you find what matters, protect it with the fierce love of a mother.
Remember that love is your best and most potent ally. It is the most powerful change agent in the world. Leading with love means leading from the heart – your heart – and you must follow it wherever it leads you.
Others will follow too, you can be sure of that, because if you lead with love, if you season your responses with kindness and suffuse your actions with what matters most, you will become the cosy glow in the window on a cold and dark February evening. Your love will let your people know that they are home and safe.
And when everyone is home and safe, it means it is time to plan the next grand adventure.