I know what you are thinking, when did health and physical educators become so philosophical? Don’t they just roll out a ball and watch kids play while they finish their morning coffee and check sports scores? I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but that age-old stereotype is long gone and doesn’t have a place in high quality educational practices. Gone are the days of “gym class” (I HATE THAT TERM), bad moustaches sported by “gym” teachers in short shorts (but it is fun to dress up like them) and the days of skill specific instruction and assessment.
To be honest, I got the idea for the What is Your Purpose series from one of my good friends and inspirations Dr. Doug Gleddie (@doug_gleddie and purposefulmovement.net) who is an associate professor at the University of Alberta *GO GOLDEN BEARS!!!!*. Recently he gave an awesome webinar on ConnectedPE and a powerful message was delivered, what is your moral purpose? This really got me thinking about about a few things and got me thinking, why do I do what I do and what motivates me to keep doing what I am doing? So let’s find out!
WHY DO YOU DO WHAT YOU DO?
When thinking about it, it boils down to the fact that I want to give back what was given to me and I want to be that positive change in someones life. I purposefully avoided use specific terms and singling out students or athletes because being an positive change is bigger than that. I know what it is like to be looking for that anchor of positivity and for someone to show me my true potential and what I am capable of. I have been eternally grateful for those who have taken on that role throughout my life and helped me become the person I am today and everyone deserves to have that positive impact.
Everyday I walk into my school (not just my classes) and think “what am I going to do today that will make someone better than what they were yesterday?”. This could be as simple as having a meaningful conversation with a colleague (if you know me, you know that I when I go for a 5 minute walk to do something it ends up being a 20 minute event because I stopped to talk to someone), taking time out of my lunch to talk to a student about what is going on outside of school or simply giving a shout out to someone on social media. People have taken their time out of their day to make me a better person so this is just me paying it forward.
Good thing working in education fits with this behaviour! I’m pretty sure that is why my boss was mad at me at my first job working at Wendy’s, I would take the time to see how people are doing and that cut into filling orders as fast as we can.
I identify myself as a SCHOOL TEACHER and not just a CLASSROOM TEACHER because there is a lot more to being an excellent and positive educator than the lessons and curriculum you deliver in your lessons. It is creating that school environment that is warm, welcoming and encourages each other to seek personal excellence no matter what it looks like. To me, being an educator is not a career, it is a lifestyle I choose to enjoy not matter what.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO KEEP DOING WHAT YOU DO?
I’m going to just say it, it’s not the money or the “holidays” that motivates me. Some of my closest friends have tried year after year to leave education and make the transition into corporate business (“you would make double what you are making with half the effort” and “you could sell ice to an eskimo, apply for my company” were common arguments had over drinks) but for me its not about that. Sure, money is nice to have but what really motivates me to stay the course are the people I make a difference to.
One of my favorite things in life is running into people outside of the school. In a city like Dubai where the population is around 2.5 million I am always running into students outside of the school. It makes my heart grow when I hear a old KG2 student scream “HI MR. FERGUSON” as loud as they can in a crowded mall and dragging their parents over so that they can give me a fist bump and a hug, when parents would stop me in the grocery store to ask how our daughter is doing and tell me how much their child loves phys ed, or when a high school student works out at the same gym I do and talks about their fitness journey with me during lunch, and when my athletes come to me everyday to say how much they miss volleyball and they can’t wait until June when we do our Sauna Sessions (yes, it is that hot out in June). I’m 99% sure that all of these run ins drive my wife crazy because I could sit there and talk with them and completely forget what I was actually doing at the mall in the first place.
It’s those things that remind me on a daily basis why I choose to become an educator and continue to do what I do.
So here is my sales pitch, if you would like to be featured in the What is Your Purpose series please contact me. This isn’t just exclusive to educators, please share with me your thoughts on what is your purpose.
Have a great week everyone! Until next time!