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Mentor Monday: Kurt Gielink

Posted on 17 July 2017

My initial motivation to enter the field of education came from my love of History. I was always drawn to the personalities, stories, and lessons behind the major events in history.  I also was drawn by the opportunity to continue to be involved in football as a coach.  I soon found that teaching history and coaching football offered me the opportunity to help tell those stories and teach the lessons that I learned in the history books and on the football field.  But it also gave me the opportunity to share my experiences and teach valuable lessons of life itself.  One of the greatest joys I get out of being in education is developing relationships with students and being able to help them grow and learn from struggles they may face.  My greatest satisfaction comes from words of gratitude from the students and athletes. When a student thanks me and tells me they enjoyed my class, I know I reached beyond the subject matter.  I was able to share my passion with them.  I have had a number of students tell me that they were now interested in entering the field of education or coaching in part because of the passion and love I shared with them for teaching and coaching. 

There have been a number of occasions when students have asked my advice on colleges and future plans. A common theme in these conversations is their uncertainty.  My advice to them (not unique and maybe cliché) is to follow their passion.  Do not be afraid to do something different.  Life is hard and there will be failures along the way, but the greatest rewards come from the greatest challenges. 

I hope I am leaving my mark on the community in part through my teaching. I believe that some of the relationships that I have developed with students over the years has made a positive impact in their lives and in turn a positive impact in our community and beyond as they leave Solon to find their way.  

I hope our students find the same satisfaction in leaving their marks that I have found. One of the questions that I ask myself is a simple one.  “If I do not act on this, who will?” The very premise of YXU!  Sometimes of course, I have failed to answer that question with my own actions. I am often amazed at the things Solon grads are doing.  I am so proud of and impressed by Matt and Tres from YXU.  They have inspired me to do more to leave a mark and I want to help them help others find their way to leave their marks. 

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