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  • Writer's pictureTerry S.

A World of Educator Mentors

Every day, I'm reminded of how much I love what I do. Though I don’t especially enjoy airports and travel, I do love being in unfamiliar places, seeing new sights, and making new friends. I also enjoy return trips to places I’ve been and seeing friends again.

The most satisfying part of my work, though, is the feeling that-- perhaps somehow, somewhere-- I do help someone become a better person and better professional. Likely unbeknownst to them, conference attendees do somewhat the same thing for me that I do for them. I listen, I observe, and I learn from them-- especially the connectors among them.

Though I don’t speak and write exclusively for educators, I’ve found that my messages connect with the good people in the education field especially. Through my work with this group, I’ve grown to respect educators even more. I’ve also grown personally as I observed their connector skills. Let me introduce you to three such outstanding people. I could mention many more!

Christopher the Communicator

Christopher is a well-respected executive in an association for which I keynote. It seems that everyone loves Christopher. Having recently met him, I now count myself among that number!

Christopher has impeccable people skills. First of all, you can tell that he loves people. He wants to be with people. I noticed right away that he always chose the table where several others were already seated, rather than sitting at an open table and waiting for others to join him. He would then immediately get acquainted and start calling his new acquaintances by name. (In fact, I was told that he never forgets a name.) He would ask open-ended questions of his tablemates and then listen carefully to the responses. He would praise others warmly and rarely talk about himself. When he did so, it was with reference to something he was asked about himself and always with modesty or self-deprecating good humor. When he left the table to mingle with others, my guess is that everyone was left feeling more valued and “connected” as an educator.

Theta the Thoughtful

I remember Theta as a well-dressed, very personable educator who attended my breakout session. She was totally focused on what I was saying for the entire 45-minutes. (As you might expect, such is not always the case for speakers.) After the session, she came to the front of the room and asked if she could take a photo with me. As I noticed later in the photo, she had my book in hand prominently displayed in front of her. She did not simply want a selfie. She wanted to be thoughtful by displaying my book. She is a connector!

Emerson the Encourager

Emerson is my kind of guy. He loves books. I’m sure he is familiar with the Thomas Jefferson quote I have over my desk: “I cannot live without books.”

Emerson recommends all kinds of terrific books (old and new) on social media. He has even been kind enough to mention my new book repeatedly. I’m honored, and he has bestowed the same honor on many others in the same way. His posts are never for vanity. They’re for encouraging and adding value to others.

Emerson has become a treasured friend, though we’ve actually never met. But, a meeting at a May education conference is in the works, and I can’t wait to connect at last with this “connector!”

PEOPLE CONNECTORS: Great connectors are everywhere and in all professions. Learn from them.

*For privacy, the names have been changed.

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