My Deputy Superintendent suggested a blog to me and I quite like it. I actually read it everyday. It’s a short little blog which hits on a variety of leadership strategies and tips. While written primarily for the business world, some days there is a real pearl in there that can be transferred to education. Today was one of those days. Today, Dan Rockwell, the author of Leadership Freak, wrote on 10 Powerful Principles for Exponential Growth. While the title itself didn’t particularly jump off the screen and give me that AHA moment, I read it anyways. As I read Dan’s blog, I was drawn more and more into the journey that we are on in education, the journey to change a good system, a system lauded as one of the most successful in the world by many accounts, into a great system, a system looking forward not backwards.
One of the quotes that Dan uses is “Growth stops when you choose comfort over discomfort.” I love this quote and I see the relevance in the changes that Inspiring Action is asking teachers to make. The changes to align our curriculum, assessment and practice to a more transformative system from the safety of what we’ve had is challenging. It’s especially challenging in light of the opposition from a certain sport’s columnist, you’ll notice I used the word columnist, not journalist. Journalists seek both sides of an issue and report on them. A columnist is not responsible at looking at both sides of a debate but rather has the luxury of simply stating an opinion and the facts that support that opinion alone.
Alas, I digress. My point is this, Alberta is in a great place right now in regards to educational transformation. We have a healthy economy, a stellar teaching work force, and a well researched Ministerial Order on Learning which addresses the main competencies required from Albertans in the future. While the new curriculum is still being revised we are hopeful it is strong and forward thinking. The question then becomes, do we have the fortitude and resilience to overcome the obstacles in the way? It would be quite easy right now to simply bend to the pressure of traditionalists and continue to be good, dumping the fine work being done in the field. On the other hand, do we simply want to be good? Is that enough for the students in our care?
I don’t think good is good enough. I think we have the obligation as educators, to help nurture the very best in our students. Rather than deliver an outdated curriculum, based primarily on content knowledge and memorization of random information, we need to open the world to our students, to make them see the world as something that they have the ability to heal and be a part of. We need them to be ethical, engaged and entrepreneurial. The competencies are the backbone to this strong transformation. I encourage all teachers to choose the discomfort of change – for our kids. Let’s make this world stronger by forgoing our comfort zone and daring to be better . . . for our kids.
Keep on learning,