Monday, May 26, 2014

What Drives Me

By nature, I am a very competitive person.  I grew up as an athlete, playing football and wrestling in high school and then wrestling in college, even competing at the national level for a few years.  Nothing was easy for me and any success I had came from out-working my opponents and pushing them until they couldn't stay with me any longer.  I then began coaching and teaching.  At first, I found coaching frustrating because I couldn't find myself in many of my wrestlers. Many were more talented but lacked the drive and determination. It was difficult because it seemed that I wanted my wrestlers to win more than they wanted to win.  I needed to learn how to make them understand that the effort they put in was in direct relation to their performance on the wrestling mat.  I worked very hard at understanding the different learning styles of athletes and, although I didn't get to every student-athlete I coached, I am pleased to say that I have had something to do with the success of some very fine men.

When I became a school administrator nothing really changed.  I wanted to win.  When I say win, I mean help every student learn and help every teacher become better at their craft.  At first (and because I didn't have any other tools), I forged ahead using hard work and determination as my main leadership skills.  Eventually, I began to learn more about the craft of teaching and learn more about the true skills needed to teach a child to read, write, and understand mathematics.  I continue on this path every day.  I need to be the Lead Learner at my school. 

Although education is not about winning and losing, it is about getting better each day.  Administrators must continue to find new and innovative ways to support instruction.  Teachers must continue to develop their pedagogy until they can reach every child.  Students must continue to grow and learn in order to eventually be competitive in the work force that is changing on a daily basis.   We need to find ways to reach every child.  We need to help students develop the "grit" necessary to be successful, in whatever they decide to do.  This can only be done by teaching students that persistence to task positive work ethic are worth it.  We must make sure we reinforce the journey as much (or more) than the destination.  

Yes, I want to win.  I want my school to be recognized as a leader in our state and nationally.  I want my teachers to be recognized for their determination and knowledge of subject area.  I want my students to be successful and positive members of society. We have a long way to go. One day at a time.  One obstacle at a time.  Together we can do it.

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