Sunday, September 7, 2014

What kind of teacher do you want for your child?

Earlier this week I was at Walmart, one of my least favorite places on the planet. Sorry Walmart! I was eager to get home after a long day, but the checkouts were backed up. I randomly picked a line since they were all busy. But this time I picked the right one. Before I knew it I was on my way home. The clerk in the line I picked was giving great effort. It was noticeable she was putting forth great effort, not just putting in her time.

When it was almost my turn to checkout, I applauded the clerk's service to the customer in front of me, "Wow, she really knows how to make a line disappear." The customer smiled and agreed. I added, "She's really a hard worker."

The clerk then replied with these magical words, "I love my job." She proceeded to double bag all of my cold items, rush around to help load bags of groceries into my cart, and even made a suggestion about a type of potato chips she liked that were similar to the ones I bought.

On my way home, I called Walmart and asked for the store manager, explaining that I had just received amazing service and wanted to commend the employee for her outstanding job. The store manager was not available, but I did talk with a shift manager and shared my story, referring to the employee personally since I took note of her name badge. The manager was very appreciative of the phone call and said she would share the complement in their store meeting.

This experience got me thinking about several things.

1. Isn't it great when people go above and beyond for a job well-done? We all appreciate having excellent service provided, whether it is in the drive-thru, the doctor's office, or the check-out line.

2. Each of us gets to choose our attitude about our work each day. I once knew someone who worked as a checkout clerk at Walmart and complained nonstop about her job. Each time I would see her at her station she barely moved a muscle, wore a frown, and said little to any of the customers. Her attitude was a choice, just like the clerk who chose to share with me, "I love my job."

3. Everyone matters. Every job matters. And I am thankful I was taught to respect hard work and to respect people regardless of their level of education, how much money they have, or what kind of job they do.

4. Even though every job matters, I think our work as educators is especially important. We work with children everyday, and we have the opportunity to help shape their future. Every word and every deed makes an impact and can be used to build up or tear down a child's dreams.

5. Since our work is so significant in the life of a child, we owe it to him or her and to her parents, to be our very best every day. We have to be all in 100% or we are doing a disservice to our profession and to the future of a child.

6. So what kind of teacher do you want for your child? I bet you want one who goes above and beyond to do a great job every day, even when it's not easy.

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