|(Photo by Richard Shaw)|
This week I had the absolute pleasure of spending time with my little brother. He is 20 years-old and absolutely brilliant. He is also at his second college in two years and amazingly uninspired. He recounted his college experience to me as boring, completely scripted and guided, and leaving him without any chance or opportunity to think critically. He's an English major and feels like everything he is asked to know or do in class he could teach to himself using the Internet and common sense.
This is a tragic story of a bright mind being snuffed out and crushed down by education. I just keep asking myself how this is even possible. Why do students, at all levels if education, consistently feel voiceless and disengaged?
Immediately after this conversation with my brother, I participated in a Google Hangout organized by Jimmy Casas. Everyone that participated was connected through our involvement in the School Admin Virtual Mentor Program. Together, we discussed our own leadership goals and strengths, and visions for our students and schools. I walked away with my heart completely filled with joy and inspired to reflect on how I could push myself to be a better leader in every aspect of my professional life. I felt like I had struck gold by just being allowed to causally engage with some of these great leaders in educations.
My interactions with the #SAVMP participants have left me with a unique feeling of inspiration. It is the same feeling I get from connecting with talented educators. The feeling that I can push myself to be better because others have shared their own struggles and successes. It was a conversation with George Couros that dug me out of a blogging hiatus and helped springboard me into being a connected educator. When I think about the resources and conversations on twitter, the blog posts, the community of learners and leaders, I keep wondering how is it possible that there are so many visionaries and forward-thinking leaders in the world, yet my own brother is left questioning the role and purpose of education in his own life?
In light of the juxtaposition of these experiences, one heart-breaking and one heart-filling, I am forced to reflect on how I will inspire greatness in the people around me. How can I help others be brave enough to share their unique strengths? In and outside of my school community, how do I help others genuinely believe in, and act upon, their own greatness?
I want to inspire everyone around me to be great. With my students, staff, friends, and family, I will strive to know what they love and help encourage and foster that passion. I will be honest and reflective in a role, always willing to look at how I can be a better motivator. I will work towards finding my own sources of inspiration, thus modeling the drive and motivation that comes from letting yourself become fully immersed in what you love. I will help others be great.