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I’m so excited today that my friend and co-conspirator, Aubrey Steinbrink is the guest blogger for today’s That Thing You Do! Aubrey is an instructional specialist on a K-6 campus. She’s currently working on her post graduate degree and that makes this blog post even more important. Aubrey took valuable time away from family, studies and her work with teachers to share her passion here today. You can follow Aubrey on Twitter @Aubrey Steinbri1 and you’ll want to follow her blog at

Welcome to March Madness!

Unfortunately, I am not talking about the college basketball tournament. I am talking about ‘Spring Fever’.  The time of the school year when both teachers and students alike are eager for warmer weather, summer break, and no more school!!! This is the last mile in the marathon. The finish line is in sight, and it is difficult to remember how far you have all come and how hard you’ve all worked when the only thing that seems to matter is that there are two more months and state standardized tests that stand between you and your much deserved summer break.

Before it gets too crazy, before go through the next few months ‘going through the motions’, take a moment to think about your WHY.

This time of year, it might be difficult to find your why, remember your why or navigate to find it. Here are 6 simple steps that can help you find your Purpose to get up every single day for the next twelve weeks excited about your career choice.

Step 1: Watch this clip from YouTube

Micheal Jr. does an amazing job using a music director to illustrate the difference between knowing your What and your Why. And how knowing your Why makes your What more impactful and beautiful.

Step 2: List the top 3-5 things you provide your students or school.

This is your WHAT.  What do you do that helps your school run smoother and productive, what do you do that improves the climate of your school, or what do you do to improve the relationships in your classroom? 

  • Provide tools, resources
  • Model lessons
  • Encourage and support

Step 3: List the 3-5 results for your students and school that your service provides.

What were the results of your WHAT?  What kind of results have you seen due to your hard work and dedication to your job?

  • Teachers are reading about new best practices
  • Modeling has helped teachers apply the new strategies in their classroom
  • By encouraging and supporting teachers, I am helping them with their stress

Step 4: List why those outcomes are important to you.

Now you are getting somewhere.

  • I think trying new best practices and high yield strategies are important for our teachers because it allows teachers to be able to productively teach to our growing and ever changing demographics.
  • When teachers apply new strategies, they get excited about teaching again.
  • Teachers will lower stress allows students and teachers to have fun again.

Step 5: Take each outcome and make it into a Why Statement. (I believe or I exist to…)

  • I believe that trying new ideas is important because it allows teachers to work productively.
  • I exist to help teachers apply new strategies.
  • I believe that teachers will lower stress levels enjoy their job and create students who are excited to learn.

Step 6: Ask yourself “but why” for each statement, then “but why” to that statement, then “but why” again, until it resonates.

This parts gets a little messy, but the more times you ask ‘but why’ the deeper you get to your purpose, the more layers you start to peel from the surface.  This is your WHY.

I believe, as an instructional coach, I exist to help teachers apply new strategies to support teachers in applying best practices and research based classroom instruction. These strategies will create an environment of enthusiastic learners, which, in turn, will create more success: successful learners, successful students, and successful adults.

Simon Sinek talks about this in his Ted Talk video, but he focuses on the business world; marketing, selling, and creating things.  As teachers, we have clients (our students), we have stakeholders (parents, society, and next grade level teachers) and we need to market ourselves (to our students). We need them to believe in us, to feel passion toward their education, but we need them to do it for themselves NOT because we want them to.  Simon goes on to talk about Dr. King, and how this inspirational, innovative leader had followers not because he told them to.  He had 250,000 people show up to his “I Have a Dream” speech because he believed, inspired others based on their very own beliefs.

As teachers, it is our job to help our students understand the WHY behind an activity or a learning objective. Without that, Eric Jensen, the author of Engagement with Poverty in Mind and Teaching with Poverty in Mind our students do not see a purpose, and without a purpose, students will not perform.

As teachers, it is our job to remember our WHY.  When we lose our WHY, we lose our passion, our will, and our fight.  This job is too important to lose our WHY. Do our future generation a favor, find your why, again.


–Aubrey Steinbrink