I currently work as an educational consultant in Ontario, which means that I regularly travel to various areas of the province. On my travels this evening, I began to reflect on the varied experiences that I’ve had in my short career. It got me thinking about how lucky I have been to have dabbled in different areas of education, and then it really got me thinking…
The so-called “chances” or “opportunities” that I have had to work in a variety of projects had nothing to do with luck, but more with the rewards of being the “yes man”. Early in my career, I seized every opportunity to participate in conferences and committees, to participate in board initiatives, to take on new projects. I was confident that by putting myself out there, I would become a better educator and I would gain invaluable experience that the four walls of a classroom would never give me. I adopted the “yes man” attitude, leaving my comfort zone in search of new opportunities.
As I learned, networked, applied new knowledge and became better resourced, I became a better teacher, a better colleague, and a better pedagogical leader. My exposure to a variety of initiatives opened my teaching practice to innovative techniques and new models that I may have never considered without taking the risk to say “yes, I’ll give it a shot”. It didn’t hurt my career either.
If you are starting your career, or looking to “restart” your career, become more of a “yes man”. Sign up for some of those pilot projects in your school, register for the next conference, ask to be on the literacy committee. You will enter a cycle of professional development that will give you insight and experiences, in addition to networking opportunities and exposure to further opportunities. The time spent doing this will be worth the investment.