How do you want to be remembered?


In my role as a high school Assistant Principal, I am also a grade coordinator. I met my “class” almost three years ago when they started grade 10. These kids (almost 300 of them) are now in grade 12 and they will be graduating this month. Over the course of the last three years, I have asked students many times (individually and at student assemblies), “How do you want to be remembered when you leave this high school?” I go on to explain to them that they are in charge of how they will be remembered by their attitude and their actions.

Now, as I leave this high school as an administrator (yes…the phone rang and I am moving to a different school), it is time for me to answer the question, “How do I want to be remembered?”

  • I want to be remembered as an educational leader who trusted teachers, empowered them to be better, and gave them opportunities to lead.
  • I want to be remembered as a technology leader who showed teachers (and students) that technology does not have to be scary. Hopefully, I was able to show that technology is a tool which helps us to learn.
  • I want to be remembered as a guy who had positive relationships with the entire school community…students, parents, staff, custodians, maintenance employees, contractors, bus drivers, neighbours, alumni, etc.
  • I want to be remembered as a leader who had vision and values.
  • I want to be remembered as a guy who was easy to talk to and was approachable.
  • I want to be remembered as a guy who “got things done”.
  • I want to be remembered as an administrator who could help learners of all ages solve their problems without jumping in and solving the problem for them.
  • Most importantly, I want to be remembered as a guy who cared about kids.

I guess it is only fair that I answer my own question. How do you want to be remembered at your school?

This is a cross post from my personal blog

One Comment

  1. Tammy A. said:

    I was happy to come across your post this morning as part of an assignment I am working on for my masters’ class in Dynamic Teacher Leadership. We were asked to explore the use of blogging as a networking and learning tool to enhance our professional practice. We were to search for posts that were relevant to our teaching situations and to interact with the online education community by posting responses. Your blog post resonated with me. It was very timely since I, too, am in a state of transition. Not only am I moving from a school where I have taught for 16 years, I am also transitioning from a position as teacher to an administrative role as a newly appointed vice principal. As the end of the school year approached for me this year, I found myself reflecting on the very question that you pose in your blog: “How do I want to be remembered?”

    Here’s my answer in response to that question:

    * I want students to remember, above all, that I was compassionate and that I truly cared not only about their learning but, more importantly, about them as individuals.

    * I want my students to remember how much I loved being their teacher and that I thought it was one of the most important jobs in the world.

    * I want students to remember that I had a sense of humour and that I was able to laugh at myself when I made mistakes. After all, mistakes are an important part of how we all learn and grow, so it’s ok to make mistakes.

    * I want students to remember that I thought education was important and that learning should never end.

    * I want my colleagues to remember that I would drop everything to lend a hand, that I tried to make my work second to their needs.

    * I want my colleagues to remember how we would collaborate and how our sharing of ideas and support of one another strengthened our practice.

    * I want my former administrators to remember my leadership on the staff – willing to assist in any way I could to improve student learning and contribute in meaningful ways to the positive climate they worked so hard to establish at the school.

    * Lastly, I want the school community to remember me as a teacher who cared about others, who helped to make the school a safe and inviting place to be.

    As I move into my new role during the upcoming school year, I will definitely keep this question in my mind – “How do I want to be remembered?” If we take time to identify the personal qualities we want to be remembered by, we will have a clearer sense of purpose that can guide our day to day interactions with students and can act as a compass for the duration of our teaching careers.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas, Derek. In doing so, you helped me to reflect on my own and to provide clarity for that which I hope to accomplish.

    July 17, 2014

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