Friday, October 2, 2015

Educational Inspirations #EdBlogNZ

Todays post is my second for week one of the #EdBlogNZ challenge.  You can read my first post here about why I blog and what I blog about.  Challenge three for this week was to write a post about how something like a favourite movie, song, or piece of art relates to who we are as an educator.  

I have chosen two songs (but I could have filled the post with a playlist of the songs that inspire me as a leader and as an educator), a quote, and a book.  Whilst each stand on their own, there is a theme that connects them, and it is this theme that is at the heart of who I am as an educator.  It drives me, it shapes my journey, and when the road gets rocky, it inspires me to bounce forward.   

Song:  Imagine - By John Lennon 

"You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you will join us
And the world will live as one"

This song is my all time favourite song and is a dead giveaway that deep down (or not so deep to those who know me well) I am an idealist.  In my utopian world the human race strives for the pursuit of kindness and to live in a better world.  This, as opposed to striving for greed, corruption, war and power.  At the heart of this is a quality public education system which is working towards building a better society where fairness and equality for all are the founding principles.  The realist in me knows that this is a long shot, but much like the Starfish Story (another source of inspiration), I may not have the ability to make positive change for the entire human race, but I can make a difference in my own patch of the world.  The thing that I find most hopeful about this song is that it acknowledges that there is not just one 'dreamer' in the world, and if all of us that have a vision get together to bring about a positive change, then we can literally 'move mountains'.  It is a bit like that old adage, that a vision not shared and unexecuted is just a hallucination!    

Quote:  Whakatauaki - Maori Proverb 

He aha te mea nui o te ao 
He Tangata, he tangata, he tangata!

What is the most important thing in the world?
It is people, it is people, it is people! 

Despite the fact that this Whakatauaki is very popular and often quoted, I have always felt education particularly, is the embodiment of it.  If we want to make meaningful change, then we need to have people that believe in that change.  It is irrelevant how good your vision or strategic plan is if it has not involved the people it is meant for, or if they do not believe it to be something they want to strive for.  Our most important resource is our people.  Our students, our teachers and support staff and our community.  Without them, our work is pretty pointless.  It is a guiding principle of what it is to be an educational leader!

Book: To Kill A Mockingbird - by Harper Lee 

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view..."

I first read this story when I was a teenager as part of my Fifth Form English (year 11) and from the moment I started reading it, I was hooked.  I have blogged about To Kill a Mockingbird before, because it is one of those books that has had a profound influence on me.  At the time, the 15 year old me was horrified at the injustices I was reading about.   Perhaps I had been sheltered from such atrocities and this was my first real introduction to some of the hate that exists in our world, but to this day, I strive for equitable outcomes and I will always look for ways to ensure the students I work with have access to opportunities for success.  I am privileged to work with a very diverse range of people from many backgrounds and cultures.  Considering things from their perspective has been, in part, as a result of the impact this book has on me.  The other lesson I took away from To Kill A Mockingbird was the way Atticus advocated for others.  Sometimes being an advocate is hard work, sometimes it is unpopular and sometimes it is thankless, but it is so important that those who have the smallest or the quietest voice need to have the loudest advocate.  I consider being an advocate a critical role in educational leadership and in education, and if it means I have to be a little uncomfortable sometimes in order to be the voice of others, then so be it.  It is better to make a difference for some than for none.  

Song: Rise Up - Andra Day 

"I'll rise up
I'll rise unafraid
I'l rise up 
And I'll do it a thousand times again 
For you All we need, all we need is hope 
And for that we have each other
And for that we have each other 
We will rise
We will rise"

Sometimes working in education, especially educational leadership is hard, uncomfortable and a little lonely.  It takes courage to stand up, to rise and to face a new day sometimes.  The reward is the difference we make, but it has its price.  I like this song because it is a reminder that the rough bits smooth out, that the tangles untangle, and the sunrise will come  again when the sun sets.  Most importantly, that if we face it together, we will rise and face it as a team, and when we do, we will be stronger for it.  

What inspires you?  What drives you and is at the core of your very educational being?  

The beauty of a challenge like this is the opportunity to remind ourselves of why we do what we do! 

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