Investing…. This word holds so much power.  This word scares some and others see it as a challenge. A risk to find a way to get the biggest gain.

When we invest in something such as the Stock Market we can hardly wait to see what our return is.  When the envelope shows up in the mail or the website is checked you are always hoping for an increase, a positive investment.  What if you get your portfolio statement and it shows a large decrease in your investment?  You have to sit down and look it over.  You sit and analyze it. You check to see if it is something you should try again or if you should move your money.  Investing… it’s a gamble until you find the perfect fit for your money and your future.

As a teacher fresh out of college I hit the ground running! I was ready to invest in kids, but I didn’t put a ton of “money” into the student.  I was afraid of the “market” crashing with little left over. I began to put enough in to make sure that they received the information they needed, but not really enough to make a difference in having the big positive outcome.

I was the teacher….

I was a 2nd or 3rd year teacher when my investment, we will call “Johnny”, made no return. I began to ask myself, “Why should I give and give and give? Johnny doesn’t even come to school most of the time, and when he does come he doesn’t even try, and homework that is a WHOLE different story!” So I took my “money” out of that failing investment without analyzing it at all.

I was the teacher….

I had tried and he didn’t. I didn’t look to see why the investment wasn’t working. I thought, “He isn’t going to try and I have tried everything.” I didn’t take time to sit back and think. “How can help this kid get through? What can I do to make it work?” Or… even this question, “How should I change what I am doing to meet the needs of this student? How can I make him succeed not wait for him to figure it out on his own? What am I missing?”

I was the teacher…..

He began to show up to school less and less.  I knew then that I had made the right move with my investment, because Johnny’s family didn’t even care if he was in school and all these other students deserved my “money” more….

I was the teacher….

Then one rainy day, yes the day is etched into my memory.. My boss asked me to come to her office, and in that moment I found out why the investment wasn’t making any gains. As I sat down in my principal’s chair and the words began to flow from her mouth I only hear the first few, “Johnny wouldn’t be returning. Last night he had been pulled from his home and taken to Denver Children’s Hospital….. It was the worst case of abuse a Children’s Hospital had ever seen.”

It didn’t matter anymore who was the teacher….

You see Johnny WAS trying. He was trying to survive.  He wasn’t trying to survive math.  He wasn’t trying to meet the words per minute to be on grade level.  He wasn’t trying to get 80% on his spelling test.  He was trying to survive life from 3:30 pm to 8:00 am, so when he got to school he was safe, he was able to relax, he was able to not have to worry what was going to happen next.

I was that teacher… Now I am not!

Fast forward 15 or so years… I am still the teacher, but I am not that teacher.  I invest… I invest A LOT!  I invest in their academics. I invest in their reading. I invest in their math. I invest in self-esteem.  We take risks as a group. We make mistakes, as a group. We invest together. Some days I do all the investing, but some days my students invest more than I do. But that is how it should be, because we are a team. I am the leader. Guiding them through, making mistakes together, but NEVER giving up on the “investment”! Because the investment is one of the biggest and most profitable parts of teaching. It is where everyone as a team, not I am the teacher, will find the greatest gains.

Be the investor not the teacher!


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