Should you be remarkable?

REMARKABLE-PEOPLEThis idea from a post (How to be remarkable) on “being remarkable” has been swirling around in my mind for the past few days.

Can you ‘leave your mark’ in this life, can you be remarkable, if no one is remarking about you? While it’s important to be remarkable in your own eyes, making a difference by definition means being seen as remarkable by others. And, in order to be remarked upon, you’ve got to get in front of people – you have to be visible.

As educators and as schools, what kind of efforts do we make at being remarkable? What IS being remarkable, anyway? I suppose each of us needs to define that for ourselves and for our organizations. What is the “mark” you are leaving on your organization (as a leader) and/or your students (as an educator/leader)? And then how do you share out that which is remarkable?

Unless I can be convinced otherwise, I think we are doing a lot of “unremarkable” in education. Education policy, embodied in national/state politicians and local school boards, doesn’t want remarkable. Sure, we have remarkable educators -both classroom teachers and school leaders. You can find them all over the internet – on blogs and Twitter. But I don’t see these people as the norm in the American education system. The vast majority of us are focused on the unremarkable because we blindly implement the unremarkable policies placed on us.

Take the Principal Effectiveness system here in Pennsylvania as one example. How many principals are starting to dump all their energy into worrying about how they will be rated? Do they really think the rating will be anything less than “proficient”? Instead of worrying about being “unremarkable,” why aren’t they focusing on work that is remarkable? Why aren’t they focused on fostering and widely sharing the pockets of remarkable going on in their schools? Why aren’t they focused on creating a digital footprint that will trump any Principal Effectiveness rating?

It’s not my intent to disrespect educators, but how do we improve? We have to ask questions that often make us uncomfortable. And is thinking about “remarkable” one way to move us in that direction? What’s your remarkable?

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8 comments on “Should you be remarkable?

  1. Thanks for posting! I have always pondered the idea that I want to “leave my mark” on this world. When I think about making a big difference, maybe that just means that I helped some of my students find their passion and gain confidence in their abilities? I wish I could wave a magic wand and fix all of the problems going on in education today. If it was possible, I would take away all of the evaluation systems, state testing, and everything else that takes away from the love of learning! Why can’t we just focus on fostering our students interests and helping them compete in this ever changing world around us? Why can’t we just take all of the money going into state testing and evaluation systems and buy the best technology for each of our students to explore and create with?

    I think we have really lost what truly matters in education, the STUDENTS!! What about their interests, ideas, creativity? You can’t measure that on a multiple choice test. I could go on and on, but again, I do not believe I can change any of that :-(. All I can do is try to make a difference in my students lives. I can rise above all of that which is holding us down, and really focus on helping my students achieve greatness. In turn, I think I will achieve that as well.

    • I appreciate your thought about focusing more on STUDENTS! How often do we engage them in the design of their education? While we have expertise as educators and experience as adults, we can learn from what our students have to say, individually and collectively. This is an area I need to work on! Thanks for bringing this idea to the surface.

  2. I agree- it’s seems like in the world of PA public education, so many are focused on being proficient, that the focus is no longer on being remarkable! Teachers, support staff, and now principals are putting all their efforts into fitting into the Danielson rubric, and I wonder what the long term implications will be? Every individual has gifts and strengths (teachers, students, administrators, etc). Where in the Framework does it account for knowing your strengths and using them to help students? Let’s not be afraid to let our talents shine through! It’s a great model for our students to be remarkable!

    • On some level, we have to play the “game” in which we find ourselves. What is important, though, is that we not lose sight of what we truly want and need to do. We don’t need to be automatons that just do what we are told by politicians and other policymakers. We need to go above and beyond. And that takes effort and energy. But that’s how we become remarkable! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. Pingback: Benefits of Using Educational Blogging « MillerBlog

  4. Pingback: Be remarkable! | Sidellablog

  5. Good afternoon, thank you for the post. I came upon your blog as part of an exercise for my Admin K-12 Cert program through Cabrini. I’m a native of the Lehigh Valley (Whitehall) and the Salisbury connection stood out from the list of blogs we could visit.

    One of my roles at my home district is that of Assessment Coordinator and I do find it troubling the emphasis that data analysis has taken in education. On one hand, I certainly can agree with and see the validity and tailoring instruction to meet the needs of each individual student..we as educators have always done that and the standards-aligned results we get from CDTs, assessments, etc…certainly are a logical progression. What I can’t agree with is the fact that students have simply become data points in someone’s evaluation that has everything to do with the educator and nothing to do with the student. If we truly want to be remarkable, the greatest mark we will ever leave is on each individual student that we will ever come in contact with. Our students are multidimensional works in progress and the data received from these assessments is only a snapshot of who they are or what they can become. Administrators and Teachers lessen the impact they have on students by having to focus on the increasingly time consuming mandates placed on us.

    thanks again

  6. I connected with your comment, “Our students are multidimensional works in progress and the data received from these assessments is only a snapshot of who they are or what they can become.” I think when we can get our school boards, administrators and teachers to understand this, we remove a huge barrier and allow ourselves to focus on what truly matters. I am fortunate to be in a place where our board understands and endorses the idea that test scores are a mere snapshot in time and that there are so many other ways that kids learn and grow that aren’t part of that score. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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