What is the #1 most overlooked asset among teachers?

 Photo by  Mikito Tateisi

Ironically, it's learning.

Specifically, it's the choice to grow continually, even when you're not paid to do so.

Every time you seek out, accept, or create for yourself a stretch teaching assignment, you are making a deposit and building a "freakishly strong base" that will compound over time.

If you're an English teacher comfortable with the five-paragraph critical essay, should you experiment with teaching a longer (or shorter) inductive essay?

If you're a Physics teacher who has mastered the multiple choice / short-answer / problem-set test, should you learn how to design performance assessments?

If you're a Math teacher whose Head of School offers you the opportunity to organize a design thinking workshop—even though you've never done anything but teach Math—should you accept the challenge?

Too often I have heard teachers ask, "Will I get paid extra to do that?" If you are trading your time for dollars, you'll miss the opportunity for a learning experience that will compound with interest.

But if you see each stretch assignment as an opportunity to develop new resources (teaching competencies, relationships, mindsets, etc.), you will be building a "freakishly strong base" that, years later, might pay off exponentially. Maybe you become an attractive candidate for an upper administrative role... Maybe you become the go-to teacher in a national PLN... Maybe you discover that you love designing learning for adults and move to corporate L&D...

The best part is that you can create your own stretch assignments. Teachers who do this get noticed. They also tend to earn recognition, promotion, and other rewards.

Albert Einstein once called compound interest the most powerful force in the universe. When will you make your next deposit in your learning bank account?


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