Finding my WHY

I'm currently reading Start with Why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action, by Simon Sinek. 

It was a book I picked up at the beginning of the summer when my position this fall was still unknown. After a year as the Renewed Math Strategy Co-ordinator for my board, I was set to rebound back into the classroom. However, there was still a possibility of my board bringing me back as a co-ordinator (which is what ended up happening). Regardless of my position as a teacher or co-ordinator, I was hoping this book could help me lead learning, be it with students or with colleagues.

I'm about half way through it now, and giving serious thought to my WHY. What drives me? What makes me want to push myself? Why did I choose this as a career? Through what lens am I viewing my role(s)? 

Why find my WHY?

According to Sinek, if I want to motivate, if I want to be trusted, and if I want to make a difference, I have to be authentic to my WHY. The more clarity I can bring to my WHY for myself, the more consistent I will be with HOW I do things, and even WHAT is it I do on a daily basis.

"A WHY is just a belief. That's all it is.
HOWs are the actions you take to realize that belief.
And WHATs are the results of those actions - everything you say and do..."

So I've been trying to figure out my WHY. 

Why did I choose to go into science?
Why did I choose to become a teacher?
Why do I push myself to go to conferences?
Why do I find myself working on extra side projects on teaching & pedagogy?
Why do I spend so much time connecting with other educators?

The answer (I think! I imagine this is an evolving process...) came to me this morning. And it completely blindsided me. It took me by surprise because it was in plain sight all along - I've known this about myself for quite a while, but I never linked it to the reason behind WHY I do what I do:

I love to learn.

I want to learn how things work and why they work. 
That's why I fell in love with the sciences.

I want to share my love of learning with others. 
That's why I became a teacher.

I want to learn directly from experts (both theoretical experts, and empirical I've-done-it-in-the-classroom experts). 
That's why I go to conferences.

I want to learn about the latest developments of, well, anything. 
That's why I work on extra projects.

I want to learn from the people who surround me. 
That's why I want to connect with educators both in my board and beyond.

And as a corollary to this WHY, I also believe that as educators, we learn better togetherI feel like I am always learning, and I am happiest when I am learning with others. There is so much that we can learn from each other, and I believe that collaboration is key to furthering our experiences. This is pretty big for me.

(As an aside, and in retrospection, that WHY is likely what drove me to rebrand my blog the way I did, with emphasis on modelling that learning, about which I am passionate.)

(As a separate aside, I find this even applies to my physical pursuits - learning how to become a better runner, learning kata as a kendoka, and harkening back to my days as a high school athlete, learning how to perform different moves in gymnastics.)

So where does this leave me for defining my role this year?

I've figured out my WHY; I now have to work through my HOWs, and my WHATs.

HOW will I share my passion for learning?
HOW will I place myself in the role of a learner when working with colleagues in collaborative inquiry sessions?
HOW will I share what I learn? And HOW will I encourage others to share what they learn?

WHAT will be the tangible (and share-able) pieces coming from a learner's mindset?
WHAT will I bring to the table when working with others?

There's a lot to still figure out. As well as a big, hairy, audacious goal blog post for the year. But now I feel I have a grounding, and a sense of focus moving forward. 

Thanks, Sue (@Dunlop_Sue) for prompting me to blog about my WHY :)

What is your WHY? How does it impact what you do?


Popular posts from this blog

Indigenous Mathematicians and Scientists

The Art of Questioning on Math Assessments

When a Drawing is Not Just a Drawing