Why we need you as ‘clock builders’
Congratulations to all teachers around the world; you are members of the most important profession in the world! Without you, there would be no carpenters, artists, astronomers, economists, photographers, philosophers, cashiers, journalists, police officers, judges, climatologists, doctors, nurses, etc., etc. In short, you are ‘shaping the future’, how valuable is that?
Theme 2020: “Teachers: Leading in crisis, re-imagining the future”
Now more than ever, teachers need to inspire, model, train and develop positive attitudes along with enhancing content and skills. This approach will allow students to address the challenges they are facing today. As a teacher, ask yourself, ‘How can I facilitate students to be more resilient, resourceful, reflective and social in their learning and in their lives’? This is indeed challenging but Biesta refers to it as ‘The beautiful risk of education’ (2014).
Becoming a ‘clock builder’
Transformation to a better, more sustainable world requires (transformative) leadership. Breaking your own habits is often difficult for us as teachers and school leaders, because we are part of the educational system. It requires a transformation in your personal leadership as a teacher or as a schoolleader. Acknowledging this and entering into (temporary) chaos before something new is created requires courage, time, a safe environment to make mistakes, the creation of an experimentation space and a change strategy that accommodates this transformation.
On a personal level, it takes a lot of self-reflection, revising and honesty to learn from experiences and apply them in new situations. However, it is also about being curious, having confidence in yourself and others and being able to see threats as an opportunity. Furthermore, it is not about offering cut and dried solutions, but asking yourself to look for them and accept the uncertainty that will naturally follow. The key element is having time for reflection. It is also advisable to start small, but with a clear objective.
Do we dare to change our learning communities in such a way that they make a substantial contribution to a better and more sustainable world?
In this respect, I would like to leave you with Jim Collen’s question and metaphor; do you dare to be a ‘time teller’ or a ‘clock builder’?
‘Leading as a charismatic visionary – a “genius with a thousand helpers”- is time telling; shaping a culture that can thrive far beyond any single leader is clock building. Searching for a single great idea on which to build success is time telling; building an organization that can generate many great ideas over a long period is clock building. Enduring greatness requires clock building’.
We need to transform to a more sustainable world that cares for all!
Let us all build clocks in our schools!
1 October 2020
Drs. Anton de Vries
trainer-consultant at NHL Stenden University The Netherlands
member of the executive committee of The Learning Teacher Network
- Building Learning Power approach, prof. Guy Claxton
- Built to last, Jim Collens
- The Three Levels of Sustainability, Elena Cavagnaro