Thursday, March 8, 2012

BE the change....don't just talk about it

Here is a story about Gandhi that resonates with me: 
During 1930′s, a young boy had become obsessed with eating sugar. His mother was very upset with this. But no matter how much she scolded him and tried to break his habit, he continued to satisfy his sweet tooth. Totally frustrated, she decided to take her son to see his idol – Mahatma Gandhi; perhaps her son would listen to him.
She walked miles, for hours under scorching sun to finally reach Gandhi’s ashram. There, she shared with Gandhi her predicament. -
“Bapu, my son eats too much sugar. It is not good for his health. Would you please advise him to stop eating it?”
Gandhi listened to the woman carefully, thought for a while and replied,
“Please come back after two weeks. I will talk to your son.”
The woman looked perplexed and wondered why had he not asked the boy to stop eating sugar right away. She took the boy by the hand and went home.
Two weeks later they revisited Gandhi. Gandhi looked directly at the boy and said,
“Boy, you should stop eating sugar. It is not good for your health.”
The boy nodded and promised he would not continue this habit any longer. The boy’s mother was puzzled. She turned to Gandhi and asked,
“Bapu, Why didn’t you tell him that two weeks ago when I brought him here to see you?”
Gandhi smiled,

“Mother, two weeks ago I was eating a lot of sugar myself.”
As parent and an educator this story is one I carry with me daily. It is not without personal challenge. For example when I tell me children to limit their "screen time", I'm keenly aware that I need to limit my own (this can be really difficult when the Canucks are on television).

So it goes for schools and the adults who work within them.

Schools need to be places of integrity.

Schools, inspired by integrity, align the day to day expectations required of students with day to day expectations required of teachers.

We need to my mindful that the expectations we have for teachers and students are congruent.

Young people are particularly astute at seeing right through hypocrisy

Here are few potential double standards that can occur in schools:

Falling Short of Expectations 
When, as teachers, we are overly punitive with students who fall short of our expectations......we need to be mindful of how we, as teachers expect to be treated when life happens and we can't meet expectations.

Mobile devices
I am noticing more and more adults in schools checking their mobile devices at school.  I do.  How do we treat students who do the same?

Balanced Work Load
Most working adults are very mindful of their workloads. As principal, I am extremely mindful of not "piling on" the work for teachers. How mindful are we of the workload we give our students?

Boring Workshops
As a principal I want my pro-d (learning) to be engaging and relevant to my needs.  Often times, if I'm attending a workshop and that falls short of being relevant or engaging, I might get up and leave.  We need to be mindful of making the learning relevant and engaging for our students.

Students require modeling more that lectures. Students require teachers who have high and realistic expectations but who are also highly empathetic to the human condition.

In my opinion, schools and teachers who value this type of integrity have a greater likelihood of developing safe, nurturing, and engaged learning communities.

As Gandhi says:
Be The Change You Want To See.....

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