This weekend my two school-age daughters received a very special delivery – their school supply box! To my kindergartner it was like Christmas morning. Not only was there excitement about opening the box and discovering the crayons, folders, and glue sticks, the sparkle in her eyes remained as she carefully packed each of the supplies into her new backpack.
Over the next few weeks thousands of adults will be experiencing those same emotions of excitement and hope for what this school year may hold. Educators are hopeful for a fresh start, new curriculum, better training, a new classroom management technique, and perhaps some exciting new instructional strategies. Parents are equally hopeful. Maybe this year will be different, better for my child. A fresh start might be a jump start for my learner.
What will we do with this excitement?
Each of us makes a decision to handle this enthusiasm and hope in one of two ways. If we are honest with ourselves, some of us quickly allow the routine of schedules, past practice and comfort to drown out our new ideas. We try to commit to being better and to second chances but it just becomes too hard for us to keep up with the pace.
Then there are the difference makers…those who are able to follow through with their plans and idea… The Do-ers.
Six years ago I attended a PLC seminar at Stevenson High School. A few days ago, I had that same opportunity. Each time I learned a little bit more about myself and about my leadership. The first time I attended I had stumbled across a short little writing that is somewhat of call to action for difference makers. It still applies to today. (Not sure who to give credit to but it sure wasn’t me.)
Here’s to the dreamers who are changing education – the rebels, the troublemakers, the malcontents – the ones who are shaking the foundations of our school systems.
They aren’t satisfied with the status quo. They dare to dream about a day when every child has a great education; a day when we have no dropouts; a day when we can honestly say that we are maximizing the potential of every student – not just the rich ones, not just the lucky ones.
They believe that every child can learn and that every child can succeed, and they prove it over and over in their schools.
They will never accept the left side of the bell curve. They won’t accept poverty or language or class size as reasons for failure. In fact, they won’t accept anything other than their students’ success.
For them, there are no sacred cows. If necessary they will change the way they grade, the way they teach, the way they think and even the way they behave; whatever it takes to make sure that every kid learns and every kid succeeds.
They know that our world has changed around us and that our future is at stake. They see in the eyes of our children our collective hopes and our collective fate. They welcome the trust and challenge we have given them, and they are stepping up in the face of adversity and difficulty to give all they have to making our children all they can be.
Because only those who dare to dream and then dare to do will change our world.
One Final Thought:
In nine months this school year will be nearly over. Students will be a year older and hopefully a full year (or more) smarter. Will we be excited as we think about the summer of 2014 or disappointed because we ran out of time with our students this year? Will we be longing for a break or longing for more chances to make a difference with each child we have the opportunity to teach?
My oldest daughter tried out for a softball team this weekend for which she was woefully ill-prepared. I don’t blame her, I think her former gymnast dad was to blame.
When the class of 2014 graduates and “try’s-out” for the world they will inherit, will we have the same regrets? Or will this year be the year that I, that WE truly make a difference.