the role of an educator…

I just finished reading a wonderfully short and sweet blog post by one of my favorite authors, Bernadette Jiwa, titled “The Role of a Marketer.” She states that marketers think that their job is to change how people feel about what they (the marketers) do (and what they have to offer).  She believes that the “real” job of a marketer is to change how people feel about themselves.

So, as many of us celebrate graduations over the next few weeks (and the successes of students receiving a college degree), it made me think about our roles in education.  It seems that educational institutions spend most of their time promoting how great their particular institution is…when, in fact institutions should focus on how the students (and even the faculty and staff) feel about themselves.  How about that?

On another note, a couple of weeks ago I was asked to come up with questions to ask incoming new students.  The purpose?  Our Students First Office and Career Services Center will be doing a presentation at our (UNCG’s) Orientation program around purpose/passion understanding and development.   As I pondered this question, I thought “What questions would I want a new student to think about and talk about at orientation and then contemplate during the summer?”  And since I just recently finished the book, “The One Thing: Discovering What You Were Born to Do” by Phil Cooke, he shares four questions that I think would be really interesting for them (and you) to answer:

1. What comes easy to you? (What comes natural to you? What comes natural to you, the thing where you “get it,” the thing where you thrive?  Could also be the thing where people notice you, where they confirm how well you do something.  When do you get into a state of “flow?”  When are you at your peak performance?)

2. What do you love?  (Doesn’t necessarily have to be work related.  What are you fanatical about?  What are you constantly thinking about, reading about, writing about, talking about?  Could be something you think about when you get up in the morning and when you go to bed at night.  What drives you?  What’s the subject that you’re so passionate about that you could potentially be one of the best in the world on that issue?  If someone held a gun to your head and said you could only do one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?  What work is meaningful for you?)

3. What drives you crazy?  (What drives you nuts? What pisses you off about the world?  What makes you angry? What would you want to change?  Could be something that you’re wrestling with in your life at the present moment.)

4. What do you want to leave behind?  (What do you want your legacy to be?  How do you want to be remembered?)

Imagine for a minute…if students could answer 3 or 4 of these questions, choosing the right major would probably be a whole lot easier!  I believe these questions should be answer by ALL students, when they first come to college and when they leave college (sounds like a good assessment to me).  How would you answer them?  And are they aligned with your current role, whatever that may be?

Enjoy!

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