It has been three years since I left the classroom fulltime. I am constantly asked if I miss it and I confidently respond “NO”. I am also asked a veiled question, “How are you doing?” and I reply with an equally veiled answer, “If I had not left my district when I did, I would not be where I am now.” Both sides of that answer are very true.
Lessons learned include:
Education, Social Services, and for Profit Business all focus on the bottom line and need to grow.
- Social service agencies need to demonstrate their client services are improving and reaching more people.
- Education needs to demonstrate that their children are learning the curriculum while balancing a shrinking budget.
- For-Profit and Non-Profit Businesses need to constantly vary their services and income sources to grow.
Administrators in those three fields are competitive and true collaboration is rare. In order to collaborate effectively everyone must work together to help all the participants reach their goal (more clients, more sales, more exposure, facility usage, more programs, increased funding, etc)That kind of effort is hard and finding the partners willing to put in the effort is a challenge.
In education you must develop a thick skin, be creative to reach all the children you teach, and be able to communicate effectively with parents and administration. People of all ages can be hurtful (even if they don’t know what they are saying), people have challenges that we may not see or understand, and everyone is trying to improve in some aspect of their lives. The lesson - You must remain thick skinned, you must be creative, and you must remain open to new ideas.
Just like that child who says their dog (or computer) ate the homework, there are adults who will tell you they want your services yet will have a reason for not buying them. Just like those children who always complain that they are being picked on, or it is the other kids fault, there are adults who constantly complain that nobody does, or sells, what they want. The lesson – be true to yourself and your mission, make objective decisions about your product or service, don’t take complaints personally (unless the complaint is about you), remain positive.
Finally, when I left teaching, I believed our economy was pushing toward a paradigm shift that required us to do things slightly different to make major changes. Working in true synergistic relationships across settings and fields is the means to success in this paradigm shift. We chose the taglines “Get Connected” and “Empowering Abilities” to demonstrate to families, business leaders, and educators our way of “doing business” before we even worked together. By connecting with us, we will all empower the abilities of those we serve.
Albert Einstein said it best, “The most important thing is to keep the most important thing the most important thing.” As I transition from classroom educator to social educator, his statement has presented a challenge.
What is important to me?
- Remaining playful to be a more effective father, husband, and friend.
- Remaining playful to be more effective for people who need, and want, our creative services.
- Remaining playful to increase the number of people I can help.
- Remaining playful to stay true to our mission.
Are you playing, or working, in a synergistic relationship at home, in school, or in the community? How are you taking care of yourself so you can be more effective?
Who am I and what do I do? I am the father of three children, husband to a very special woman, and work as a Social entrepreneur supporting children with disabilities, the families who love them, and professionals who serve them. I was born and raised in Southeastern CT (Hanover to be exact). Went to Hofstra University and graduated with an interest in developmental psychology. After interning and becoming a certified Special Education teacher. For ten years I worked as a special education teacher, district behavior consultant, and assistive technology coordinator. The work was rewarding yet I always believed I could have a positive impact on more than 5-10 families a year.
In July of 2009 I left teaching to create a better life for my family and reach for my dream to be an effective positive influence on families, school districts, and service providers across the region. Early in 2009 Synergy Center was created, followed by Sensations Charitable Foundation as vehicles to support families with social, emotional, and behavioral needs. Since their creation we have made a positive difference in the lives of more than 150 families, teachers, and service providers. Working with Patch is an opportunity to continue our work and connect people to information and services their families need to be their best, yet may not find in through typical channels. As I say to people who either help our cause or come to us for support - Let's Play!