“The more I know….”

“The more I know, the more I know I need to know more.” This has been a personal motto for a number of years now.  In teaching and learning, I’m comfortable with the idea that I won’t know everything there is to know about even one subject at any point in this life.  That said, the pursuit of knowledge, particularly if it helps me better support those in my life, my classroom, my team is worthy of attention, energy, and time.  I’ve used a slide and saying in many of my presentations it shows a lady with a horse by the stream, the saying I invite everyone to complete is, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him/her …”  Most of us naturally finish with “drink.”  I invite folks to ponder what changes if rather than making a horse drink, we work at creating the environment where the horse is thirsty.  Presented with water, a thirsty horse will always drink. 

Our work in the classroom, grade 2, 2nd year of university, post-graduate or just ongoing professional and personal learning is about supporting a healthy thirst to know more, improve upon what we do to reach and help those with whom we work.  On a personal level, everything we do to learn a little more should help us in our interactions.  There’s no reason for any of us to hold back on the good stuff, the fine china reserved for special guests.  If we have something that can help; a book, a resource, a video, a Learn N Go, a presentation, we look for every way we can share that work.  If there’s something we think can help, we’re going to do all we can to share it.  If there’s something we’ve seen or heard from you that is awesome, and we see lots of that around the region and the province, we’re going to do all we can to share that as well.  IF there is something about which you are THIRSTY to know more, please don’t hesitate to call or e-mail us and we’ll find a way to help you drink.  Ok, that’s the extended metaphor for this week.  To borrow a line from a commercial series on TV – stay thirsty my friends, to which I’ll add stay safe, stay awesome. 

Reset, Reinvent, Reload —Go!

I don’t know that any of us desires to be average, certainly Todd Rose in his Ted Talk, The Myth of Average and his book The End of Average (2015) would suggest that when we design for the average we design for no one.  Normal is another word that has been used a lot lately, as in I look forward to things getting back to normal.  I am not sure that anything really has been normal for quite some time and it’s fair to question whether normal is really what we want.  

In 1959 the first-time head coach in the NFL, Vince Lombardi, stood in front of his team for the first time, a team that had won one game the year before, and said, ““Gentlemen we’re going to relentlessly chase perfection, knowing full well we won’t catch it because nothing is perfect. But we’re going to RELENTLESSLY chase it because in the process we will catch excellence.  I’m not remotely interested in being just good.”  Over the next nine years they would play in 6 championships winning 5 including the first two Super Bowls in NFL History.  The reset and reframing of expectations in word and in deed set the path. Vince Lombardi reset and reframed the expectations and then ensured the coaches, players and organization worked toward those expectations. The pursuit of perfection indeed led to excellence. 

Jerry Kramer and Coach Vince Lombardi

Let’s look for opportunities to reset and reframe what we do in the circumstances that are presented before us.  It can be in what we read, in what we watch, and of course it’s witnessed by what we do. One such opportunity is the upcoming Student focused Impact Leadership Conference in Alberta, for Alberta student leaders and their teacher/coach advisors that runs the afternoon of May 3 and the morning of May 4.  Earlybird registration ends April 15 ($5 dollars a participant the rate bumps up to $10 on April16)  Student leaders grades 9 – 12 and their teacher mentors can help reset and reframe their own focus and that of the school and their peers.  Check it out here https://www.sapdc.ca/conference/130

Rose, T. (2015). The end of average: How we succeed in a world that values sameness. Toronto, ON: HarperCollins.