The Oakland Raiders football team was once owned by Al Davis. Mr. Davis had a singular mantra that he used within his organization.

It was “just win, baby.”

His team was coached and taught that regardless of the circumstances, his team should continue to move forward to “just win.” No adversity – referees, opposing defenses, star quarterbacks – should affect his team’s mission statement. The “just win baby” mantra did not always work but did keep his organization singularly focused on his team’s goals.

Being a huge football fan and former educator, I have been watching closely playoff football and the selection of a new Secretary of Education. And it got me thinking about a connection to both!

With the new administration in place in Washington, many educators have also been watching closely the selection process for a Secretary of Education. Although I am not going to turn this current blog into a political statement, I am going to encourage all educators to face the impending change in a positive way!

Regardless how many years one has in a school system, all have seen change – be it presumed to be a positive or negative change. And what has been the constant through all the changes? To me, the answer is easy! It is the ability for teachers to continue to teach their students in the wake of change or adversity. Teachers have the uncanny ability to teach on the fly – constantly changing and amending their lessons to their student’s needs. If you don’t believe me, go observe an elementary teacher bring his/her students back inside the classroom and get them on task after an unexpected fire drill! As a former principal and superintendent, I witnessed many, many times how educators adjusted after a change was thrown at them. All kept one thing in focus – to teach their students!

Perhaps, educators should adopt the mantra to “just teach” realizing that changes can always come and affect their worlds. Changes in school boards, state policy changes and yes, federal changes can affect a school system. But one thing that won’t change is the need of your students to “just teach.”

So teachers – I encourage you to keep the one constant in mind and adopt a “just teach” mantra for your students! After all, when you are working with your students, do they even know about local, state or federal changes affecting schools? As a teacher, you may see the effect of policy changes, but students most times do not. All they want from you is to “just teach” them!

PS. And by using the term “just teach,” I am in no way minimizing all of your efforts! Keep up the great work!

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