What is my Why and my Defining Moment?

The great Simon Sinek writes that we must know why we do what we do. It is what will inspire others to follow.

To know my Why, it is important to know about my favorite teacher, Jim Haas. When I was in high school, he taught with incredible amounts of passion. To him, every lesson from World and U.S. History was important, and he inspired countless students to learn history and to see its value.

For years, I had sought to pursue a career that would emanate from my passion and purpose, something where I, too, could be great. I considered being a professor, a businessman, and an architect. During my senior year of college, I was completely lost. I tried really hard to want to go into business to make money, but I always felt hollow on the inside. I decided to do a year of service with the Lasallian Volunteers, which is somewhat similar to the Peace Corps, but it usually involves working in a school serving students in poverty and living with Christian Brothers (who are like Catholic priests). One night, I was reading a book in a cafe on Wickenden Street in Providence, Rhode Island, and it suddenly dawned on me that I wanted to be a high school history teacher. I wanted to be a teacher like Mr. Haas who inspired young men and women to see purpose and relevance in history and to formulate their own ideas and opinions about history.

Since that evening over twelve years ago, I have grown and changed somewhat. I have learned that I cannot be Jim Haas, as I have been given an introverted personality in life. Nevertheless, I still strive on a daily basis to build critical thinking skills and to generate excitement to what we are learning. I have learned to speak briefly to students so that I can speak with genuine passion and enthusiasm. More importantly, I use technology as means for students to follow their own passions and interests and to find their own enthusiasm. To me, learning is much more than memorization or test preparation; it is about finding a passion for learning and growing.

THAT is why I do what I do.


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