My heart was filled this week, working with a few amazing school districts who are really pushing the boundaries of learning, and more importantly, pushing themselves to get better. Educators have always been learners, but lately, I have noticed an acceleration in what is happening in classrooms. I truly believe that the changes I have seen in the last five years are so much greater than I saw in my almost 15 prior. It has been humbling to see how schools are doing so much, often while been given so little.
In one of my conversations this week, I was asked the question, “How will we know we have arrived at the place we need to be?” My usual answer for this is that you never will. I still believe this to be true. But what I also believe is that change is a constant, yet learning and growth are choices. My belief is that as an organization, for you to be where you need to be, all of your people need to be comfortable with growing, learning, and development of themselves, no matter their role.
Don’t think this is just on “teachers” though. Districts that pile initiatives on teachers, don’t build relationships, and create more obstacles than opportunities for those they serve, shut people down. Most teachers walk into the profession with teaching as a passion, but far too many leave education seeing it simply as a “job”. If they have moved that way, it is often “the system” they worked in, sucked it out of them. P.S…we are the system. People are the system. We have more control than we acknowledge.
All people want to be great, but do we help them get there? That is on leadership in any organization. A very good friend of mine, who is an amazing educator, does everything to serve their district, yet the district throws every obstacle in their way. It is almost like they want them to fail. I have watched a passionate educator, passionate about learning, want to check out. That is not her doing; that was leadership. People can only fight so long.
As my conversation this week, we continued discussing companies that people would buy stock in. Would you buy a stock in a company that has changed nothing in the past 10 years? It might be doing well now, but if the company doesn’t have a culture that continuously evolves, eventually it will lose value altogether. Investing money in a company is one thing, but investing in our kids’ futures is much more important.
They will be making decisions that impact us one day; let’s do the best we can to continuously grow for them as individuals and organizations. That is the only way we can get “there”, wherever “there” may be.