Teachers have never been more necessary for young people, for we are moving into a time when the primacy of content delivery is waning, and the role of teaching skills, such as collaboration and synthesizing disparate pieces of data are ascending.
I believe it is vital to know what a school should never touch in order to ensure viability for the decisions that they might make regarding change. In my experience the bigger the proposed change, the more important it is to have a crystal clear idea of what not to touch.
I work with leaders and faculty members at independent schools to help them frame out a process for change… I am most interested in the means–a smarter process to hold the ambition of complex schools striving to make impactful change.
Today I am making a pledge to abandon that metaphor (“Abandon Ship!”) as it seems to give us a ready-made excuse for slowing down, or giving up on, priorities we have named as being mission-driven and strategic. The metaphor slows us down because it traps our thinking—it becomes an accurate metaphor because we have chosen to believe it. From now on schools are not big ships. Schools are challenging enough without having them have to be ships as well.
To be a Progress Culture, we need vision, faculty members and students to get ahead of us, but not so far out in front that the bond that holds the community together is broken.
It may be helpful to think of it this way: imagine that every school has a ledger that marks the long-term debt of bad habit against the revenue of tradition. My fear is that an audit of that ledger in many of our institutions might reveal that bad habits are costing us more than we choose to recognize.