The Journey – M. Ed. at UP

Well, here it is.  The last day of my final course in my M. Ed. (Leadership) program.  I am here at the beautiful University of Portland campus fulfilling the residency component of a two year program which was offered during 36 weekends in my home town of Edmonton, AB.  The cohort experience was amazing…I had the chance to work with a high energy and immensely talented group of educators.

Our last course here is a technology course in which we are working on Mac computers.  For me, the Mac is a foreign entity but I am starting to get this thing working the way I want it to.  For our final project, we were given an open ended assignment from Dr. Carroll (the same man who worked with us to produce our labour intensive capstone research paper).  Three of us from Edmonton Catholic decided to work together on our final project.  After a heated brainstorming session, we decided that we would film all of the members of our cohort (25) lip syncing the lyrics to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin”  I know…pretty cliche but we wanted to pick a song that everyone knew the lyrics to.  Also, the song is symbolic to our journey as a cohort…don’t stop believin!  We were extremely pleased with the results of our final project…we even made side projects along the way!  I would love to share the video but our professor has forbidden us to embed the video in this blog post.

Working on this project for the last week has solidified many of the things about school leadership that I have learned over the past couple of years.

1. Have a goal.  It is so important to know where you are going and how you are going to get there.  Sometimes, you need to stop and assess that you are headed toward your goal.  Although we created side projects while we were working on the final project, we still knew where we were going in terms of the final project.

2. Timing is extremely important!  Spend time getting the timing right because one event affects another.  Spend the time to get it right!  It does not feel good to look at your work and have regrets…  As our fearless leader always says, “Never start a presentation with an apology.”  It was awesome to spend the time this week learning about all of the applications that the Mac computer has to offer.  Would I ever have spent the time on my own?

3. Use the skills of the people around you and don’t be scared to look stupid.  I was going crazy trying to cut the clips that we were using in our project.  I asked Mike how he was doing it and he showed me a great way to quickly edit the clips.  How many times do we waste time trying to figure things out instead of asking someone?

4. Collaboration is essential.  We traded roles in our group.  I started to edit clips while Danny and Fernando were still filming.  No one tried to micromanage the project…we trusted that each member would do his assigned duty.  This is very important to school leadership.  Empower and trust the people around you that they will do their job.

5. Make the best of the moment.  Life is too short to not be your best and work to your potential.

6. Learning is about the journey…not the destination.  We learn so much as we try to achieve our goals.

7. Most important….HAVE FUN!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the folks from UP, the awesome instructors, and the members of Cohort 12.  The most important thank you and appreciation goes to my wife and kids who have supported and encouraged me over the past two years as their 40 some year old dad/husband went back to school.  Let the learning continue…


  1. Ryan said:

    “Never start a presentation with an apology”

    I really like this one. Meetings are definitely important (in moderation).

    You might also follow this rule: never schedule a meeting that you feel requires an apology for being scheduled. : )

    July 15, 2011
    • dhatch said:

      Thanks for the comment, Ryan. Very true, I dread those meetings that start with an apology.
      Listen for it though…there are soooo many presenters who begin with an apology…my favorite is when someone starts with, “I’m sorry if this presentation is boring…”

      July 16, 2011

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