Thursday, May 28, 2015

Our Most Precious Resource


While riding along the highway, I came across one of the most profound statements printed on the back of a 16 wheeler. It read, our most precious resource is 16' ahead. Eureka! 

The trucking industry, or at least this company, has discovered a truth that many educational leaders have yet to realize. I say this because we spend millions of dollars on textbooks that are outdated at the time of printing and will deny a teacher attendance to a $500 conference. We often ignore the expertise of a practitioner and take as gospel the rhetoric of those who make their living giving us advice. Something is very wrong with this picture and it's going to take a lot more than my one voice crying in the wilderness to create change.

I'm ashamed to admit that as I write this, I too can see how I have contributed to this mindset. A mindset that screams loud and often, you are responsible for this ship, if it goes down, then you will go down with it. To a certain extent, this is correct, but leadership has never been and will never be a solo venture. In fact, it is the result of the concerted efforts of not one, but many individuals. 

So what is our most prized possession in the public school today or any school for that matter? It is our teachers! Research has shown us that when we invest in them, student achievement increases, they feel empowered to take risks and they are more willing to share both their failures and successes with their colleagues. 

Teachers aren't just one of many resource we use to educate our youth, they are and will always be: the most valuable one!