There’s no crying in teaching, yeah right. I almost cried in class yesterday.
It may have been the three hours of sleep I got the night before, well that’s the excuse I made in front of the class.
If I have learned anything over my eighteen-year journey in the teaching business, is that it’s ok to show your raw emotions. It’s ok to let your guard down sometimes. It’s ok to be yourself, it’s ok to share your feelings in front of a class.
Sharing, Learning and Growing
Personal Development and Career Planning has changed my career. It’s changed my life.
I never imagined in a million years that a course I despised at the beginning of my career would have such a massive impact on my journey in education.
PDCP is all about sharing, learning and growing. One of the toughest skills to develop and refine is the ability to express yourself, especially in 2019.
Talking about yourself, your experiences, your ups and your downs is extremely difficult, but PDCP lends itself to those deep conversations.
Obviously, sport has drastically impacted my life so it’s very common for me to share my personal sports stories in class. As the teacher you just have to share.
Yesterday was no different.
The theme of class was self-concept and how we grow and learn by sharing, giving back and what success really means.
That’s a pretty deep conversation to have when sleep deprived.
Honestly, my intention was to introduce the topic and put the class to work. It was strictly going to be a work period from that point on. That was the plan.
Well that lesson plan went out the window. Once I started sharing, I couldn’t stop.
I told the class about Bob Burg’s and John David Mann’s masterpiece. The Go-Giver.
That’s not a sports story, that’s a story about business, a story about the value of sharing and giving.
Since reading The Go Giver about a year ago I have tried to implement the fundamental philosophies that Burg and Mann so eloquently explained to my personal journey in broadcasting, writing, scouting and education.
I told the students the story of who introduced me to the book, our relationship and his journey in the game.
About a year and a half ago now, I was at a crossroads in my journey in broadcasting, writing and scouting.
I reached out to a person that I highly respect and admire for advice and guidance. That former NHLer, Stanley Cup Champion and professional coach was always so willing to listen, so willing to share.
At the end of our conversation, he wrote, Craig what’s your address?
I replied with ‘here’s my email address.’ ‘No Craig what’s your mailing address, I’m going to send you something. I was truly blown away. A week later a package arrived, with a heartfelt message written on a card.
A Dream Come True
As the class sat quietly I continued to tell them about my journey and how the book drastically changed my mindset and perspective on sharing, growing and learning.
I thought the broadcasting and scouting world was a big competition, I wanted the interview or the best story all the time, I wanted to get the scoop. It was a competition, one that I never wanted to lose.
At the beginning of the class I asked the students to list five characteristics of success or what they think make people successful?
They quickly jotted down a list.
We brained stormed as a class for a while and it was time for me to tell them about who I consider to the most down to earth and authentic celebrities I have ever had the privilege to meet and talk to, Ron MacLean.
You see I told them about having the opportunity to interview Ron and how that was a dream come true for me, but I also told them how open he is to share and offer insight and advice.
By this point I was tired of standing so I sat down on a desk and said.
“When you meet someone you admire and idolize from a far for the first time and they are everything you thought they would be, it’s like a dream come true, that’s Ron MacLean.”
Now I understand that many of my Grade 10 students may not even know who Ron MacLean actually is, but for that moment of time they understood his influence on my path in that part of the life.
At that point of the class I asked the students if they had ever met a celebrity they admired and what that meeting was like.
No hands went up. I was in trouble.
Making a Connection
My attempt to make a connection had failed. No hands went up, the entire class just stared at me.
One student bravely raised her hand and shared a story about meeting a famous football player when she was twelve and that he was very nice and that was a neat experience.
I wanted the students to realize that it doesn’t have to be a celebrity that you can make a connection with anyone, and that being open and willing to share your personal experiences is how we all grow, learn and improve our self-concept.
We were nearing the end of our discussion when I told the class about another surreal experience involving the importance of sharing and giving.
Last year around this time I brought the Go-Giver to school to showcase the ‘Five Laws of Stratospheric Success.’
I took a picture of the Go-Giver in front of my computer that just so happened to have a picture of me and the person who gave me the book on the desktop. I tweeted out the picture never thinking about what was going to happen.
At the end of the class I checked my Twitter, and there was a reply, I honestly thought someone was going to troll me for posting, that couldn’t be farther from the truth, it was from Bob Burg.
How did Bob Burg ever find a tweet from a high school teacher in Moncton, New Brunswick?
As I continued to tell the class about Burg’s willingness to share and inspire a student at the back of the class cautiously raised her hand.
“Yes, you have something to offer,” I said pointing in her direction.
“I love to read and write and a few years ago I wrote a fan letter to the author of my favourite book. A few weeks later she replied thanking me for reading it and gave me some advice if I ever wanted to get published.”
I was speechless. I tried to respond, I just couldn’t, I felt the tears starting, my voice began to sink.
It’s only week two, I can’t cry in front of a class, what would they think?
I was just so proud of the shy student, so proud that she felt compelled to share, so proud that the students were grasping the importance of sharing their unique experiences.
I paused collected my composure and simply said, “that’s what this is all about, I get emotional when people tell me stories like that, stories about dreams.”
“When we share our experiences with others, you become willing to learn and grow, you become compassionate and empathetic, you become open to the concept of sharing, but more importantly you become willing to give back, which will drastically effect your own personal self-concept.’
Bob Burg, Ron MacLean and the Stanley Cup Champion that gifted me the Go-Giver were all willing to give back, they were all willing to share, they were all willing to connect and inspire.
As the bell rang to end class today I signalled to the shy student to come up front. I told her how much it meant to me that she was so willing to share and how much courage it took.
“I was surprised that I actually said that,” she replied with a wry smile on her face.
“I never share stuff like that.”
“That’s the first time I ever told that story, not even my friends knew that, I was shaking for awhile after I told that story to the class,” confessed the Grade 10 student.
The power of sharing and giving back whether it’s in sport or the classroom is truly awe-inspiring.