I found this awesome story from a site called “The Happy Manager”, that has some great little leadership stories, about seeing the “bigger picture”:
One day a traveller, walking along a lane, came across 3 stonecutters working in a quarry. Each was busy cutting a block of stone. Interested to find out what they were working on, he asked the first stonecutter what he was doing. “I am cutting a stone!” Still no wiser the traveller turned to the second stonecutter and asked him what he was doing. “I am cutting this block of stone to make sure that it’s square, and its dimensions are uniform, so that it will fit exactly in its place in a wall.” A bit closer to finding out what the stonecutters were working on but still unclear, the traveller turned to the third stonecutter. He seemed to be the happiest of the three and when asked what he was doing replied: “I am building a cathedral.”
This story resonates in what we are doing in education. Often we get focused on going to sessions, in hopes of what we can do on “Monday”, but legacy is built not on one day, but every day. The “quick fix” is often taken over a longer term vision. Think about it, how often do we focus on the “next big thing” over going deep in what we are doing now. Three year plans, are replaced with new three year plans, without looking back on what we have accomplished and where we need to go.
Take the same story above and replace it with a story that could be familiar with a teacher:
One day, a student teacher had time to observe three teachers in school. Each one was busy in their class with their students, but the student teacher wanted to know more about what they are doing. Interested to find out what they were working on, he asked the first teacher what he was doing. “I am teaching students how to use this app.” The student teacher turned to the second teacher and asked her what she was doing. “I am helping students use this app to help them with their writing.” A bit closer to finding out what the teachers were working on but still unclear, the student teacher turned to the third teacher. She seemed to be the happiest of the three and when asked what he was doing replied: “I am shaping minds to become independent, lifelong learners.”
I am sure that many could write a better version of this story (and I encourage you to do so in the comments), but hopefully you get the gist. It is more than just teaching “stuff”, but it is about developing people. This takes time, persistence, and vision. It also takes us to look at every student in not only our school, but education as a whole, as our students. Every conversation, whether it is in the classroom, on the playground, or in the hallway, can make a difference in shaping those minds and developing the leaders of today and tomorrow.
Reminder…legacy is not built in one day, but every day. Vision does not become reality without our actions, but those actions and what we choose to do daily, is the only way any vision will come to fruition.
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