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From the Principal's Office to Woodward: An Educator's Reflection Thumbnail

From the Principal's Office to Woodward: An Educator's Reflection

If you ask anyone in education, New Years Eve is always a bit anticlimactic. In schools, the “ball drops” when the final bus rolls out of the parking lot.

For the past fifteen years, I have spent time as an English teacher, Literacy Specialist, and Assistant Principal – and the month of June has always been marked by stacking the last desk up for summer cleaning, putting the final touches on high school graduation ceremonies, and giving those last hugs and high-fives to students off to new adventures.

Additionally, this time of year has always signaled a period of reflection, not only on my practices as an educator and a school leader but the experience we create for our students. While the “art” of teaching provides room for creative interpretation, I believe there are four fundamental qualities a good educator should have:

Good educators are caring.

"Students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."  —  John C. Maxwell

When you walk into any classroom or school building the culture should be the heartbeat. How do you create such magic? This tangible feeling is established in every single interaction: Greeting students at the door, sharing genuine curiosity in their lives, showing respect and understanding of values and beliefs, and every communication in between.

Each student should go home feeling heard, valued, and cared for.

Good educators are skilled.

“A good teacher isn’t someone who gives the answers out to their kids but is understanding of needs and challenges and gives tools to help other people succeed.”  — Justin Trudeau

Beyond your established culture, educators need to have a solid foundation in their area of expertise. The certification of content knowledge and skills paves the way for students to engage in meaningful learning and growth. This solidifies the ability to create experiences for everyone to develop their current understanding, ask clarifying questions, and walk away with new possibilities.

Each student should go home with a comforting sense of trust in the skill of their educators.

Good educators make learning accessible.

"Those who know, do. Those that understand, teach."  — Aristotle

I would be willing to bet that we have all met incredibly intelligent people who cannot translate their understanding to others.  A great educator is someone who not only carries knowledge but knows how to deliver and facilitate to ensure those around them can access the learning. How do you accomplish this? By meeting each student where they are and building upon the knowledge they currently hold, skill development becomes accessible to all.

Each student should go home feeling empowered to expand their understanding confidently through practice and exploration.

Good educators are committed to growth.

“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”  — Bill Gates

The most vulnerable part of education is committing to continuous improvement to ensure we are always growing in our craft. Feedback is one of the most important gifts to meeting this goal. Surrounding yourself with people who will give you honest feedback – both positive and constructive is essential to enhancing your knowledge and facilitation.  While this is not always a part of the experience the student sees, the dedication to striving for progress should be apparent in your practice.

 Each student should go home feeling reassured that you are committed to learning and growing alongside them in their own journey. 

This June marks my sixth month here at Woodward Financial Advisors, and I’m pleasantly surprised that what makes my colleagues excellent financial advisors, isn’t much different than what made my teachers great educators.  While there are differences (e.g.: our clients are not teenage students, we have infinitely better snacks than the cafeteria line, and I haven’t caught anyone smoking in the bathroom … yet), I have found that we are, in fact, still in the business of education. Let me explain …

Good advisors are caring.

From the very first phone call or email, to the last onboarding meeting, to annual progress meetings: you matter, your loved one’s matter, your interests matter, your preferences matter … you matter. When trusting a team with your most precious assets, it is critical that each client feels like a respected partner in their financial goals and decisions.  

Woodward Financial Advisor clients should go home feeling heard, valued, and cared for.

Good advisors are skilled.

With the complexity of financial planning, it’s crucial that our clients feel safe in our knowledge and application of our skill. All our advisors are CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ CFP® certified and take pride in this craft. Your money is more than a number – it reflects your hopes for the future and that’s not something we take lightly.

Woodward Financial Advisor clients should go home with a comforting sense of trust in the expertise of their team.

Good advisors make learning accessible.

Our clients come with various levels of understanding and with their finances. It’s up to our client teams to meet each person where they are and build experiences that inspire clients and their families. Blind trust works for some but informed confidence that you have a financial partner for life creates far better outcomes.

Woodward Financial Advisor clients should go home feeling empowered to expand their understanding confidently through practice and exploration. 

Good advisors are committed to growth.

The world of financial planning and investing is anything but static. Changing market conditions, economic shifts, tax changes, and an unlimited amount of varied client situations keep us on our toes. We all love being students and are committed to learning continuously, for our clients’ benefit. Whether it’s at the end of every podcast, our weekly internal meetings, or even after your meeting, seeking feedback and opportunities to build our foundational knowledge and skills are key components of our culture. We want to be our best for you -- you deserve our best.

Woodward Financial Advisor clients should go home feeling reassured that you are committed to growing your “art and science” of advising.

When I changed careers, I assumed I would feel like I was living on a different planet for some time. And, sure, while there are still some days at lunch when they’re tossing around financial jargon and I whisper, “What does ‘RMD’ mean again?” – I’m comforted in knowing: I’m still surrounded by folks who care, who are incredibly skilled, who make every interaction with clients accessible, and who are committed to growth.

At the end of the day, education is universal and I’m thankful I get to witness our clients experience such a high level of trust and care.





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