Hear, Do, Be - Reflection by a School Principal

Hear, Do, Be - Reflection by a School Principal

Summer, in most states, can be a time to refresh and energize your passions.  It provides the opportunity to reflect on practices or the end.  

This summer I have been reflecting with the end in mind.  Although I am decades from retirement, I have been viewing the end.  Will my time in education be student-centered enough to create a better system for our learners?  By design I was listening to one of my ‘go to’ podcasts, Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram.  Which of the three areas do you want to be listed under or trademarked?


In education there are trends competing with our attention on a consistent basis.  Not only trends, but policies, social media, and other outside voices compete for our ears.  We hear ideas that are exciting and fresh, but do we give root to the idea or vet the idea for our learners?  We can become thin in our beliefs when all we do is hear.  Where do you rest in this area?  I challenge you to do more for our learners.


This is where many of us reside.  We rely on accomplishments and believe that we have status because we ‘do’.  Doers, and I am one of them in many areas professionally, are more excited about completing lists and drinking the kool-aid that production equals success.  My fear is when we ‘do’ our work, we lose focus on our main purpose in education…our learners.


To take this to another level, I want you to really focus on ‘be’.  What do you want to BE in your role at your school?  ‘Be’ is hearing  the trend, ‘doing’ the work (and moving from it), and allowing the learner to control the wheel of their education.  Listen to their feedback.  This summer, take time to reflect on what you want to be for your students.  I don’t want to be known as someone who ‘did’.  I want to be the change for my learners and facilitators.  There is a grassroots movement to change our system.  Is it broke?  No, I believe it is obsolete.

Take the photo of the payphone.  When I attended the d.school at Stanford in May to learn about design thinking, I was able to visit Muir Woods National Monument.  As I was walking, I noticed this payphone.  It’s not broken, but it is obsolete.  Many visitors walking by commented on its lack of usefulness.  Many laughed at its purpose as they took picture with their cell phones.  I will let you draw parallels with our educational system today, but our learners deserve more from us individually and collectively.  Instead of teaching with a ‘payphone’, we need to teach with their voice in mind.

My hope is that this post resonates with many of you.  What I want to be is a champion for a change that meets the needs of our learners.  How about you?

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About the Author
Author: Darren Ellwein
Principal from South Dakota and passionate for a change that will meet the needs of our learners today.

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