Who was or is your most inspirational colleague, and why?
Inspiration comes in so many different forms: exemplifying the characteristics of teaching that you want to implement or improve upon, creative lesson designing, technology implementation, ability to connect with students, professionalism, and sometimes even by providing the example of what you don’t want to emulate. I am fortunate enough to have had paragons in all these categories throughout my career. When I reflect upon which educator provided me with the most inspiration, I would have to identify a two people, a married couple whom I worked with while teaching on St. Paul Island, AK. I will refer to them lovingly as Mr. and Mrs. Inspiration.
When I think about the qualities that make up a true educator, Mr. and Mrs. Inspiration come to mind immediately. An educator who is dedicated to both their students and their mission as an educator to the point of this dynamic couple is simply the most that you can ask of a teacher. In their case, it was just the beginning of what they gave to their students.
Living on an island in the middle of the Bering Sea is just about the most gutsy, challenging assignment that anyone could ever have regardless of profession. I say this because I experienced it, but only for a short two-year period. This dynamic couple did so for over ten years. Knowing that the students who attended this school would be some of the most challenging with a high level of apathy towards school, these two also knew that these same students who were ready to give up on themselves had an untapped potential that Mr. and Mrs. Inspiration zeroed in on.
Thousands of miles from traditional technology and resource, Mr. and Mrs. Inspiration became creative, resourceful and sought the tools and assistance that would turn St. Paul Island into an education center. Additionally, they created and promoted several after-school programs, events, athletic teams, and fundraising programs that would allow the students and families to have the best educational experiences possible. This would cause Mr. and Mrs. Inspiration to devote their time to ensuring these activities were available, morning, evening, and weekends. And it was all done without hesitation, frustration, keeping tabs on what they did versus others, or personal-gain agendas. It was all done out of the goodness of their hearts, knowing that they were giving back to students just a small piece of what they deserved.
Today, I can proudly say that I keep their giving examples in my heart and mind when I look into the eyes of my students. I am so grateful for the time that I spent on Mr. and Mrs. Inspiration’s team, so blessed to call them friends.