It is not hard to learn more. What is hard is to unlearn when you discover yourself wrong. – Martin Fischer
In today’s era of instant access to nearly infinite information, learning more is at our fingertips. From a YouTube video on how to program your garage door opener to earning an advanced degree online, it isn’t difficult to be a lifelong learner. Each of us, from the youngest child to the senior citizens in their golden years, can access skills and continue our learning journey.
What’s more difficult for all of us is to accept change – and to permit ourselves to be changed. It’s hard to unlearn certain skills . . . it’s uncomfortable when our values are challenged.
In my opinion, here is the biggest challenge . . . the willingness to challenge your own beliefs and then honestly decided what you aren’t willing to change and what changes are required of you. We can’t simply unlearn skills or abandon time-tested truths, but we also can’t turn a blind-eye to advancement. We must be honest, embrace the discomfort of questioning ourselves, and make intentional, purposeful decisions based on new information.
Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army. – Edward Everett
Education is the great equalizer in American society. Education is what molds, what builds the foundation, for our next generation of American leaders. Public education is the silver bullet, the single most powerful institution, to break the cycle of poverty and level the playing field in our country.
Our public schools, and the skills and values we instill in our young people, are protecting the very ideals of liberty in this next generation. From the very truths that are made self-evident by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence to the new nation brought forth on this continent as referenced by Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, the work of public school teachers safeguards the core of our liberty.
Teachers who are passionate about making a difference are more likely to make a difference. – John Hattie
Think back on the best teachers you had in school. What made them different? How did they stand apart from other educators?
Our best teachers truly make a difference in the lives of students because their passion is about making a difference. It isn’t about pedagogy or curriculum; it isn’t about classroom furniture, iPads, or flexible learning spaces. The most important aspect in teacher success is simple – passionate teachers whose first love is making a difference for their students. Period . . . End of story.
Yes, curriculum and learning spaces . . . yes, technology and pedagogy matter, but they don’t matter nearly as much, not nearly as much, as the skill and passion of the teacher in the classroom.
“Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.” – John Wooden
Do the people around you trust you enough to argue with you? Are you willing to listen when other people present different opinions? Do you create opportunities to provide differing points of view?
We embrace our Power of the Team . . . we know that we are stronger together. For us to perform at our best we need alignment of purpose with a team that continues to challenge each other. We listen, we challenge, and we commit . . . this is our process. We are a diverse team of smart, dedicated people . . . we respect each other and make each other better.
“Peace is not the absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” – Ronald Reagan
Our community is becoming increasingly diverse. With our social, economic, and cultural diversity, we also have a great diversity of ideas and opinions. We are divided in our political views, our parenting styles, and our development planning. All one needs to do is look on social media, or flip from Fox News, to CNN, to MSNBC . . . there is no shortage of conflict, name-calling, or just angry people.
For us to be successful, for our community to create a kinder, more productive culture, we must take a page from Ronald Reagan’s playbook. Peace isn’t the absence of conflict or abdication of personal ideals. Peace is the ability to handle conflict with kindness, grace, and skill. Working through conflict doesn’t come easy . . . it requires us to simply do the work. Achieving peace and appreciating our diversity demands that we build the necessary skills to listen, understand, and compromise.
Let’s embrace the challenges we face, build the requisite skills to handle conflict through peaceful means, and commit to kindness as we create the culture we desire.
“Expect to succeed. Be ready not to.” – Brian Kight
From a professional golfer standing behind the ball visualizing the perfect shot, to the high school violinist practicing a difficult section of music prior to a performance, we know that visualizing success is paramount to actual achievement. We instill in our children that through positive self-talk, hard work and a positive mindset, success is more likely. We expect to succeed because we’ve done the work, we’ve made the commitment to the process, and we’ve built skill.
We also teach young people that failure isn’t an end, but a step along our journey. When we fail, we learn and improve. While we expect to succeed, we are also prepared to fail-forward. From that missed putt on the green, to the wrong answer on an exam . . . we are provided opportunities to learn, live our growth mindset, and be better prepared for the next time. This is life . . . it is a never-ending journey of experiences and opportunities. Be ready for anything.
My mind is constantly going. For me to completely relax, I gotta get rid of my cell phone. – Kenny Chesney
Regardless of how you make a living . . . you can be an international country star or a local superintendent . . . cell phones have changed our lives. As recently as a decade ago, we could escape the immediacy of work. Sure, we had phones, but we didn’t have the news alerts, 24/7 email access, and continuous access. My iPhone has changed my life – and sometime not for the better.
We must manage our technology and not let our technology manage us. We have control of these devices – we control the alerts, notifications, and noises. We can easily turn off the notifications and create specific times when “do not disturb” is active. We can specifically create times when the phones isn’t at the table, on our hip, or in a social situation.
While each of us wants to be indispensable, we are also not performing at our best when we don’t relax and recharge. We embrace our Power of the Team; we count on others and have the opportunity to share responsibilities. Be intentional in your life . . . create downtime and opportunities to relax.