I thought I was having a mid-life crisis, but I wasn’t. I was too young. I was just being real - discovering my authentic self. Myself, as a brave adventurer. My marriage was in trouble and I had two young children. My career needed to change as my life was changing.
I am an avid adventurer – I love foreign lands. I love people, places and culture. I travelled through the Middle East and Egypt as a young woman, learning from the land and the people. This is RE (or Ra) the Egyptian God of Sun. (above)
As a mature aged learner at University, I met the most incredible lecturer. He was compassionate and wise. He made me feel compassionate and wise.
I had spent the first year of my teaching career learning behavior management, planning, time management, negotiation, reporting, delivery and assessment. My teaching mentor was a powerful and experienced woman. She knew her stuff. I felt like I had leeched so much of her expert knowledge and skill. How do I do this, what would you do in this situation? – That sort of constant leeching/questioning.
She gifted me with many lessons. The most precious one I still have hanging in my office today. It says:
“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel”.
The point is that today I can’t even remember my University lecturer’s name, but I remember how he inspired me. I cannot remember all the expert tips my mentors have shared with me, but I remember them walking with me.
I remember being loved, in spite of my imperfect life and my imperfect self. This is powerful leadership.
During my nursing career I have cared for autistic kids. My nursing career began during the late 1980’s. This was a time before the reforms into disability and community care. The kids I cared for where severely autistic. I was shocked. As a young nursing student working as a nursing assistant, Autism and how it manifested in people was frightening. This fear was accentuated by my lack of insight and relationship with these people, as well as the environment in which they were cared for. It was tough for a very young and very sheltered nursing assistant.
Anyway, I got a job. I moved my family. We were starting anew. Life was going to get better for me and my family.
My preconceived ideas and expectations came to the fore front during my first few years as a mature aged, new entrant teacher. I was told I had a severely autistic child in my class.
My anxiety hit the roof. OMG! I am not going to survive! I am not going to be able to help.
All the children could talk. All the children sat when asked to sit. My previous experience with “extremely autistic” was different. I decided that I could no longer listen to labels. I found that labels got me into trouble. I decided to become more people focused and more person centered. That is how I nursed so that is how I would teach.
My revelation came as I discovered that being a teacher is not about me. It is not about what I do but it is about the people I work with and work for.
It is about the people I serve.
Teaching is leadership, relationship and respect. This applies to all vocations, and all industries. We need leaders who lead with love.
Leadership is not about the leader. Leadership is about how people feel about the leader. Leadership cannot be about power alone. Leadership is about power that comes from love, and respect and relationship.
Be an authentic and meaningful leader. BAM leader. BAM teacher. BAM care -er. Be different - Be authentic and meaningful. Lead from the heart. Teach from the heart. Care from the heart – (regardless of where you work or what you do).