Wow. There is so much I don’t know. With each promotion, with each new job, the more I am humbled, and I am confident this is where greatness begins.
I began my career in education nineteen years ago and man did I know it all. If you would have asked me as a brand new rookie teacher, the job was so easy. Actually you wouldn’t have had to ask me. I would have just told you. Some of you may have already read one of my other posts Choose Your Hill that I shared a while back, where I describe this. If not, pause now and click the link above. It will be important for you to gain some context about the evolution of my career and me as a person and professional.
This last month has been tough on me and unlike the cocky arrogant 22 year old with all of the answers I used to be, I now feel like a man searching and hoping that this will bring about some of my greatest growth.
You see, a little over a month ago I was offered a job across the country. I had been working in Florida, a few miles from the beach, with kids who were desperate for love and hope. I poured my soul into those kids and stood arm in arm with teachers who embraced themselves as world changers and destiny shapers. I worked with teachers who transformed a school and a neighborhood. I had a job that was harder than any job I have ever had, but more rewarding than any job I had ever had as well.
But just a few weeks ago I decided to make a change.
Deciding to leave Florida and move back to the state where my career began, Michigan, to accept a new job, working in Central Office, shaping the instruction for an entire district and leading leaders has been exciting and oh so terrifying.
As I write this I am sitting alone in a campground with my cell phone hot spot turned on to provide wifi, because my family is still in FL, a new house is not ready for me yet, and I am watching the sunset while I catch my breath from another amazing day of learning and leading. I am in a position where I no longer have the connections with students that gave me fire. I no longer have the singular authority to hire the teachers to stand beside me. And I no longer have my own four kids running up to see me each day as I get home battered, bruised, yet smiling at the impact that we made. I am here on faith. I am here to grow. I am here to make an impact.
As I sit here I am choosing to write not so that others can second guess my decisions, but so that I can celebrate my decision to maximize my impact. I have stated previously that Knowing the difference between each and every is the difference. Each child deserves an opportunity. Each child deserves an advocate. Each child deserves a chance. In my current role I now have the opportunity to have an impact on 4 xs the number of students I had in the past. In my new role I have the opportunity to shape the leaders who can carry love, hugs, and high expectations into each of their buildings. I now get the opportunity to set the stage and the vision for a community, not just a neighborhood.
I gave up a lot to move here. But the potential to gain is so much more. Too often in our lives do we look back and wonder about the doors that are closed, either those that others have closed for us or those that we have nudged shut, that we fail to notice the doors that are wide open in front of us.
Now it’s time for me to practice what I preach…
As I embark on this new journey I hope to keep learning, to keep growing, and to keep fighting for all that matters most. I will be reaching out to so many others for their guidance. I will be celebrating small victories. I will be looking at myself in the mirror and knowing that when we do our best where we are, we are elevated to places with greater responsibility. Some shirk that opportunity, but I am here and ready to go.
Please keep me in your thoughts, prayers, and communication loops in the coming days, weeks, and months, and help me as we work to embrace the opportunities that are laid before us. Doors are not made to be knocked down, but when one opens in front of you, take a leap of faith, and step on in. That’s where greatness can happen.
As always, feel free to connect on Twitter @DaveSchmittou
or to grab a copy of It’s Like Riding a Bike: How to Make Learning Last a Lifetime