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Finding your "Why" Featuring Dene Gainey

Updated: Oct 12, 2022

Hello friends, welcome to another episode of the edumagic podcast. I have a teacher, author, singer, and fantastic educator, Dene Gainey, here with me today. He will share the importance of finding your why as a future teacher.

Before we get started into talking about the importance of finding our, why in education. Can you share about your teaching journey, where its led you all the different paths you've taken and where you are today?
  • I started teaching in 2004, and right out of college, I got a chance to start teaching at the school I did my senior internship.

  • Taught at four diverse schools in the Orange County, Orlando, Florida area, and got a chance to see what it was like to teach kids with different learning levels and experiences.

  • I had the opportunity to also, work with students that were in the magnet program inside the elementary school as well.

  • I had some charter school experience.

  • I've been teaching for 14 years, going into your number 15, which is exciting.

  • I'm still excited and passionate about what I do.

Now you said you're going into gear 15 of teaching, but not only have you been an educator, but you've also been an author.
  • I'll start with the fact that EduMatch publishing, with Dr. Sarah Thomas, has made it possible for several individuals to sort crowdsourcing as edumatch snapshot and education for 2016, 2017, & 2018. I was involved in all three of those several chapters. Ever-changing nature needs to celebrate diversity and build a community.

  • I wanted to dive in and get my thoughts on paper and share about, and interestingly enough, those blog posts became at least the first, I guess I would say six of them, became the first six chapters of Journey to the Y.

  • When I think about that book, it's a collection of my own experiences as an individual, but as an educator as well, and the importance of the Journey, the importance of opportunities to reflect, the importance of just really taking the time to consider everything and not just roaming down this teaching road, but everything matters.

Everything has a purpose and everything has a role to play in us, really understanding our why.

So why. Why do we need to find a why? Why do we need to find our, why in education? Why do we need to have that early on to help drive us and push us forward?
  • I like to paint a picture with an analogy and use these kinds of analogies. If I needed to go grocery shopping, I would not go to the store without an idea of what I needed to buy. Now, that doesn't mean I don't go and buy other things. I must have a purpose for going to the store.

  • Otherwise, it might be a wasted trip that might be, you know, gas that I'm spending or wasting for no reason. The why is essential because the why drives the who, what, when, and where it informs all of those. I like to say other "wh" questions because they form the foundation.

  • The why is the direction or the journey that you will take in life informs that very foundation for it.

  • It gives you something to say, circle back to, to cycle to, even when the days get hard. When the times get challenging, even on the perfect days, you know, it's an excellent way to go back to that and reflect on, okay, this, this, went well. I liked how this went, but this thing over here didn't because of my why, right?

  • Because of this purpose or foundation, I know that I can choose a different way to approach this the next time.

  • It almost acts as a motivator; you cycle back to that. Why? And it keeps you going, even on difficult days.

Is it common for our why to change? does our wide change throughout our teaching career or throughout our teaching journey. Is that okay if it changes?
  • I believe that there is a strong possibility that your whack can be changed. And I'll say that in the sense of totally transformed. I can say that in the sense of added to. I can say that in the sense of maybe taking a part of it out or perfecting it, maybe you start with a general example or gen Y, but as you've continued to walk forward, it becomes more intense or more, Complex based on your experiences.

  • I think it's acceptable to alter yours because we are indeed on a journey as individuals, as educators.

  • What we do is not about one day. What we do is not about an hour of the moment of our lives. It's our decision. To walk this road, we're going to encounter many things that are so good. We're going to encounter some good things. We're going to counter things that are, that are very challenging. We're going to encounter those days where it might seem like, Oh my gosh, I don't know why I did this, but really, having that, having that why right.

  • Is it going to be that moment where you can say, yes, I do? You know, even on those most difficult days, you can return to that. Why and say, That's why I started this. That's why I decided to do this.

  • What can I take away from it? That might help me to again, perfect. My why? But also give me the strength, courage, and mojo to keep going.

I appreciate you sharing your passion for finding our why, but how do we even get started? But it sounds like a huge philosophical question that maybe we tackle early in our college career and would never visit again. So, what are some strategies that you have that we can get started and starting to craft our why for our educational journey.