It’s been a week since the 2017 SEE (SMART Exemplary Educator) Summit. It was a fearless week. There was so much I wanted to tell my family but didn’t know where to start. Instead of trying to put it into words I sat back and digested it like you would when you have just finished a fabulous meal with the perfect company. You can’t find the words but can savor the flavor and know that it surpassed your expectations.
This year I was selected to be a mentor. A mentor, by definition, is a wise and trusted counselor or teacher. This company believes in me so much that they’d give me this honor. Throughout each of the days I, along with 8 other mentors, guided, answered questions, asked the hard ones and ensured that the emotion we felt when it was time to say goodbye was understood by the attendees.
Our week began with a session led by executives who told us we were the “Best of the Best”. In teaching, a profession filled with constant evaluation, criticism and desire for improvement they told us we are enough. They shared their excitement in the upcoming week to hear our ideas, learn from us and work with us to improve the company. That’s quite a bit of information to hear on a Monday morning yet they kept repeating “We are the best of the best.” Their wishes for the week certainly came true.
During the next four days, our sessions were filled with executives, developers, fellow attendees and other members of the company sharing experiences, trials, obstacles and successes. When we questioned, they answered. When we challenged, they listened. When we achieved a new goal, we all celebrated. So much so that on
day 3 of this amazing week, everyone at SMART Headquarters came to the cafeteria and cheered for us as though we were famous walking down the red carpet with our names in stars lining it.
As a mentor, I realized that it was my duty to guide and encourage the 24 new Summit attendees that way any parent would. They were guided to ask the questions, share their ideas and converse with any and every employee that joined us. What other company brings their customers to their headquarters to have it criticized with the opportunity to grow?
A week later we received a survey asking us to reflect on every aspect the week, one of which was to describe the week in one word. Fearless would be my word. Fearless to apply to attend knowing the level of competition of SEEs around the world. Fearless in sharing my thoughts to help create one of the best weeks of professional development possible. Fearless in meeting new people which included those from 7 different countries. Fearless throughout the week by showing them that this company wants to improve and values our opinion. Finally, as they took their walk down the red carpet with the entire company cheering them on, I needed to be fearless as I watched them as any proud parent would. They relished in the moment and I caught it all on video.
As any effective teacher does, I evaluate my time during that week and hope I was enough. I hope my passion for this community and SMART was felt enough that they know they are the best at what they do, their voice matters and this journey has barely begun.
Stay fearless as you now have a team that is cheering you on.