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?