…begin with the end in mind…

Tonight I had the utmost pleasure of celebrating my mother. Tonight, with my father, sister, and brother, along with many other colleagues, we celebrated my mother’s career as a nurse.

The evening was nice – nice stories and speeches, a long, drawn-out skit with little relevance to both nurses retiring, and roast beef buffet.

My eduglean moment for this evening took place around the dessert table as the skit was still going on. I asked a lady how she knew this crowd. She replied that she was a nurse and that she loved my mother. I thanked her graciously and smiled. She added that she was sad to see my mom retire because the lady would miss her as a nurse to look up to.

I asked the nurse to clarify and this is what she said, “I’m a young nurse and I need these older mentor nurses to look up to.”
“Do you consider my mother a mentor nurse? Why’s that?” I asked.
“Oh yes, she is one of the good ones who are still left.”

Now my eduglean hat went on.

“So, as a young nurse, can you tell which ones are the good ones and which ones you wish would retire as soon as possible?”
“Yes, for sure, it’s usually pretty easy to see.”
I dug a bit deeper, “So what is it? What skill, or characteristic, or something separates the good ones from the bad ones? How do you tell?

She smiled and looked at me with eyes as confident and peaceful as ever, “Patience, understanding, and their gracious, humble character – that’s what makes the good ones. That’s why I’m going to miss your mom.”

I was floored – my eduglean was racing. I managed to smile politely and try to look like I was really listening to her. Maybe It’s all the Covey lately, or maybe it’s just all the great dialogue happening in my PLN right now about teaching, learning, and professional networking, but I was actually thinking:

Is it possible that these descriptive words extend from the realm of nursing to the world of teaching?

This nurse needs to be proactive in finding a new set of mentors, and

Given Covey’s Habit 2, Begin With The End in Mind – to hear this young nurse describe these qualities in a master nurse, I want to begin highlighting these characteristics in my own personal and professional life

It made me so proud to hear this young nurse speak of my mother this way. It is uncannilly similar to how I hear fellow teachers speak of my father. I hope to be even in the same ballpark when it comes to being compared to my parents. I have years and years and years of character to build.

Today, I’m starting with Habit 2 and the characteristics of a master nurse.


6 thoughts on “…begin with the end in mind…

  1. patrick hayden

    Great post, my Captain! True cause for self reflection, not only as a teacher but as a husband and a father.

    1. eduglean Post author

      Thanks, Pat. This is what eduglean is trying to do – to bring about reflection. As we continue to move towards our future vision, we must first self-assess, self-critique, and set an ever-so-slightly modified course. I am learning to understand that this process of self-analysis is only half the battle…the other is to humble ourselves and open ourselves up to the critique of others. I have heard it said, “the only thing that brings about improvement is strong critique.” Eduglean is my learning space…

  2. Richard

    Here is one more thought to add to your list…

    Is the role of a teacher, really that of a mentor? To come along side and support the growth of our mentees?

    Some would say yes, some would say no. Certainly the high school teacher’s mandate is more broad, but those characteristics are definitely evident in the teachers who have made an impact on my life.

    Great food for thought!

    1. eduglean Post author

      Great Q, Richard. Defining the role of a teacher is not an easy task. I believe ‘mentorship’ is certainly a piece, a large piece, of that role. But, like you say, so is ‘supporting the growth’ of our students.

      Q: How do teachers best ‘support the growth’ of our students?
      A: Teachers must wear many hats well. My take on great teach-ers/ing is that they must
      – understand & communicate their content areas passionately, clearly, and encouragingly
      – walk with integrity, honesty, and humility
      – understand and enjoy the students they are working with
      – season their daily life with grace, humour, and model a commitment to learning

      I’m sure there is much more that needs to be in this list…this was a quick take. Hmm…perhaps this will turn into a future post! Your thoughts?

      PS – I wonder how the role/practice/influence of a teacher changes in practice and experience from the primary years through the high school years?

      Anyhow, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I appreciate it.

  3. jrobideau

    You are very blessed to have not just one, but two parents who have become “masters” of their crafts. I have recently been wondering about that word, “mentor”. The life of a teacher is so very busy, and to a certain degree, lived out in the privacy of a classroom. Certainly students are aware of teachers as potential mentors, but it is harder to extend that mentorship to other teachers who are also very busy, working on their craft by trial and error mostly, in the privacy of their classroom. I don’t know if I have had too much mentoring myself except from what I’ve been able to “glean” somewhat accidentally by observation and conversation with other teachers. I guess most of my mentoring has come from books. Interesting. Great discussion starter, Paul!

    1. eduglean Post author

      Thank-you, Joanne, for your input here. I am thankful for my parents and have learned a great deal from them. Yet, there have been other ‘mentors’ in my life who have helped shape my experience – close friends, past teachers, past Young Life leaders, colleagues, and like you say, wonderful books that have opened my mind to bigger and bolder thoughts, attitudes, and issues that push me to improve.
      As I eduglean my way through life, I often refer to ‘example / non-example’. I mean, I try as best as possible in a situation or conversation (any experience really) to find what I appreciate and to glean it into my life, and equally to analyze what I dislike in that situation and what I want to keep clear of my journey. This ‘example / non-example’ is really just helping me find what I desire to replicate and model into my own life.
      This is why I love meeting people and why I love going to conferences and why I love reading blogs – I want to glean the best of what I can and turn it into my own experience.
      Mentoring is not just gleaning, or just observing, or just copying. Mentoring is the sharing of life – the good parts and the bad. Hmm…what a great word…more thoughts to come on this!
      Thanks again, Joanne, for your thoughts and for taking the time to comment.


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