Tuesday, February 12, 2008

If You Build It, They Will Come

Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech 2005

Every educator, and most certainly every instructional coach, ought to watch this compelling commencement speech. As I listened I drew reference back to my work as a coach. How looking back I can connect the dots and how critical it is that I am passionate about my career.

When we first entered the America’s Choice School Design, we had training on the design piece by piece. For some, the part to whole individuals, this was a most effective roll out strategy. For others, like me, the whole to part people, it could be somewhat challenging to know where the piece fit into the entire design. But, despite the roll out, I reflect back 9 years and find that I have connected the dots. I know the whys and hows, and can coach effectively because I see where all the pieces fit into the overall design. If you are a coach just beginning your journey, never fear...you, too, down the road will be able to connect the dots. For now, hang on and enjoy the ride, and make sense of the work as you go. (I remember a few detours along the way!)

Steve Jobs, in this speech, speaks of not settling, of living passionately in your career and your personal life. This is true of my coaching role because I am passionate and self-directed. I am a life-long learner who embraces learning far beyond school house hours because I am driven with the hunger to know more. I keep this in mind as I surround myself with colleagues who push me beyond my comfort zone. I truly learn something new every day.

I also return the favor by coaching those that want to reshape their practice. Those that want to learn and grow, and not those that come with their arms crossed. I embrace those 20% at the top that are ready to be pushed, that ask to be pushed, and I leave the rest alone. When enough stars get in the game, the others will follow. Luckily, I’m at the point in coaching now, believe it or not, that there is 100% teacher buy-in. The culture got to the point that it pushes out those who are reluctant. They self-select out because in my world, instruction is transparent, and it becomes too uncomfortable to stay. Hard to believe? Trust me, if you build it, they will come.

1 comment:

dayle said...

Pretty powerful commencement speech! It reminds me of something a Teacher of the Year said yesterday, "Find your passion and you'll never work a day in your life." dayle