For the past five years my wife Randi and I have joined a team of teachers who come together to complete a marathon in relay fashion.
You thought this was going to be a post about how teaching is like running a marathon and I’d be passing the baton to students as they grow in knowledge. Well as good as that sounds this is a story about mentoring and relationships.
2012 was the first year we ran in the race, we were assigned our stage and we learned the course. The following year Randi organized the event raising money for Bahraini charities, organizing and ordering uniforms and scheduling pickups and drop-offs for the big day. The second and third years I took on the captains role in attempt boost culture for staff, an initiative of workplace fitness. That year we also started an after school staff sports collaborative, playing various sports after the weekly staff meetings and intermittently held fitness video sessions like P90X, insanity and circuit training every other day in the gymnasium. We were set to be competitive and lower our overall team time. Training in the early mornings before school and enjoying the camaraderie of fellow teachers who had the same drive, focus and vision.
Fast-forward to present day and how I feel…this is a transition year for our family, a final year to say goodbye to the relationships we have formed and pass along all the good work that we have accomplished while living in Bahrain.
I think it makes some people feel better to think that others lives will fall apart when they are gone; that they are so important to an organization that their loss will be crippling. And I have seen this negative self fulfilling prophecy come to fruition.
Maybe a problem with education and every other industry – peoples egos. For if we can put ego aside, mentor those roles and positions we have worked so hard to build, our legacy will continue, countless people will benefit from the advancement and the institutional memory that lives on.
Still present day, back to the marathon…A new leader emerged, she rose up to the challenge and brought everyone together for the 9th consecutive year the school has run this relay. It felt good just being part of the team, knowing that this small meaningful event will live on, it has grown and developed to inspire wellness for our school and become a tradition that is cherished by the whole community.
Now I know that this metaphor is a bit stretchy like cheese but in reflection I have realized that what I leave behind will be my best and what I bring forward will be even better. In the words of my first international school Director Dr. Bernadette Carmody – “leave the wood pile higher” I truly understand what I was meant to hear.