I was reminded of the last question recently, “What will be your fingerprints on the building after you leave?” Someone shared with me the idea that they had hoped their new principal coming into the school wouldn’t change much, and just let them keep doing what they are doing. In our world today, maintaining is falling behind, and reminds me of the quote from John C. Maxwell, “Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.”
Now I know that consistency is important in any organization, and I am not advocating a 180 degree turn in buildings when a new principal or educators walks into the building. I also don’t believe that immediate change is necessary as it is important to learn and build upon the strengths of the people already in the building, and for someone to understand the strengths of those that they serve, relationships must be built over time. But if we truly want to grow as educators, my hope is that when new people arrive in our schools, they will push us to become better, no matter their position. If you really think about it, would we be comfortable with a teacher that simply maintains the intelligence of the students they receive in any year? We would expect growth of our students, as we should expect growth from ourselves.
So to the new people starting in your schools this year, what fingerprints will you leave after you are gone? What change in trajectory will you have created not only in your students, but of your colleagues. And to those that are hoping things just “stay the same”, I am reminded of the Einstein quote, “Once you stop learning, you start dying.”