I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And, I was really…I was alive.– Walter White, Breaking Bad
In April 2015, my oldest son Gerard (G4) was born. Since then, I haven’t watched much TV.
But there is one show I managed to finish:
People love the show for many reasons, but my biggest takeaway was the shift in Walter’s mindset. He began as a “man on a mission,” working desperately to sell enough crystal meth to ensure his family would be taken care of. He knew he could soon die of cancer. And he felt a duty as a man to leave behind a nest egg.
Then, Walter got a taste of a drug even more powerful than what he was cooking in his trailer. It became clear Walter didn’t just care about his family. He also loved, and was addicted to, power.
He had plenty of money.
He had bills bulging from the floorboards.
But he wanted more. And he wanted others to be gone.
Believe it or not, understanding and applying this concept may make the difference between connecting with your next teacher or principal prospect…or, at worst, offending them.
So here it is:
Teachers enter the job to make a difference. They care about student learning as their number one. And they’re willing to make personal, financial, and emotional sacrifices for the job. You can see, in any school, young teachers often take on a martyr or savior persona. It’s subtle, but it’s clear in their actions.
(Some never lose the “martyr mentality,” which is an unhealthy situation.)
Eventually, and at different stages for everyone, the pure, innocent, “I’m in it for the kids” mindset changes. It’s not that teachers no longer care about the kids. But it gets more complicated after a teacher has been in schools for 10, 15, or 20 years.
Now, the teacher prioritizes their own children. (I sure do.)
They may begin caring for aging or sick parents.
“I just close my door and teach, now…” is what you’ll often hear.
So when you’re talking to an educator face to face, over an email, or through any channel, remember the evolution of Walter White. Not every teacher is coming to the job with the same mindset as they had on day 1, year 1. In fact, no one is.
You can still help them. But you need to understand where their head’s at.
If you’ve got a great product or service, but you need help communicating in a way that shows you understand the educators you’re trying to reach, you can check out the link below to learn more: