Doing the Work is Enough

doing the work is enough

Anyone who is trying to make change in education can get frustrated pretty easily.

OK, maybe not everyone that is trying to make a change. Maybe it’s just me.

However, I hear stories of teachers and administrators who are struggling to help students and dealing with the overwhelming feeling of defeat when they don’t see the growth they wanted or the same students make the same mistakes time and time again.

And I’m not just talking about test scores.

Every day, we work with students that, regardless of the efforts we put forth to aid them, continue to walk down a path that will likely prevent them from fulfilling their potential.

Not just the students who are making choices that could put them at risk of living part of their lives in the confines of one of our illustrious prisons but all those students that aren’t living up to the potential that we see in them.

Educators struggle daily wanting to see some evidence of the work we do. More often than not, we don’t see it. Likely for many years, if ever at all.

I’ve been reading Ryan Holiday’s excellent Ego is the Enemy and I’ve had to take a great deal of time reflecting on what I’ve been doing in education and why I’ve really been doing it.

Near the end of the book, a simple sentence inspired this post and will change how I do everything I do.

“Doing the work is enough.”

Read that again and let it sink in.

One of my favorite quotes from Steve Jobs is, “We’re here to make a dent in the universe. Otherwise, why even be here?

Think about this: how big is the universe? Even if you made the biggest dent in the history of everything, it’s still just a dent.

Not everyone notices a dent. You’ve probably gotten dents in your car and never known where they came from.

The same is true for the dents you make in your own part of the universe. They may go unnoticed for years.

Those students you’ve supported and done your best to help them see the potential that lies inside them may not see it themselves until they are much, much older.

Some may never see it.

The other teachers that you work with who you try desperately to help them adopt a new strategy or share something you’ve done that worked great with students may never be on the same page as you.

Trust me, I know how frustrating that can be.

OR, they end up changing their practice after someone else talks with them and, somehow, convinces them to make a change.

This is a moment when we all need to remind ourselves that ego is the enemy and it doesn’t matter who convinced them to make a change, only that they made it.

But what if they change never comes? What if you struggle over your entire career and you see little, if any, progress to making our schools a better place for our students?

In this moment, remember this small sentence that will give you reassurance:

Doing the work is enough.

Of course, as I’m writing this post, I realize that these words are primarily written for myself. But, if someone out there finds inspiration, fantastic.

If not….

Doing the work is enough.

Welcome Back

welcome back

The first post I ever wrote on the first version of this blog was in January of 2006.

I’m pretty sure I’m the only person that read it.

There have been several hundred posts, a podcast, videos, and some incredibly poor decisions on my part on the direction of this site.

Over the years, the focus of this site has varied from consumer electronics to digital marketing to educational technology.

That last one is where I found my home and my current career. And where this blog will stay focused for the future.

However, I’m not interested in writing articles that are the typical edtech fair, chock full of lists of the newest shiny products that are bombarding classrooms around the world.

There are plenty of authors providing that perspective and I have done plenty of that writing myself.

My hope with this site will be to provide insight into my journey as a digital learning coach, focusing on helping other coaches work with teachers and students to integrate technology in meaningful ways in their classrooms.

I certainly don’t have all the answers and I fully expect that, as time progresses, I’ll have to change some of my thoughts based upon new learning and research.

I said this in my first post and I say it again now: thanks for reading this and thanks for joining me on this journey.

Welcome back.