Priority – a thing that is regarded as more important than another.
Can you have priorities? No. One thing will always be more important than another. You have to identify a priority. Priorities are an impossibility.
As we move into the New Year people all over the world are making resolutions, setting goals or identifying priorities But with priorities you are stretched too thin. What is most important to you?
In Greg McKeown’s essentialism 21 day challenge he asks that you ask yourself each day: “What is the most important thing I need to do today?” He wants you to identify what is your priority for the day. Shouldn’t we ask that same question for the week? The month? The year?
We should identify one priority, at work, at home, to work on. Keep working on that one priority until you have accomplished it.
My priority personally is to publish a blog once a week. If I want to be a writer, I need to write every day with the priority of publishing it for the world to read.
My priority professionally is to continue to study Stoicism and how it can help educational leaders deal with the hard times we are all going through right now. Many of my blog posts will be about this subject.
The hard part will be staying focused with the myriad distractions that come with every day life. Having a priority doesn’t mean that you can’t work on other things. It just means that the priority must take precedence.
I will keep you posted on how each priority is going.
“Don’t set your heart on so many things.” – Epictetus
As we, in New York, now know that we are not going to see our students face to face until September at the earliest, I think it is the perfect time to reflect on what we do as educators. Distance learning will cause some fundamental changes in how we teach our students, but we have to ensure we are focusing on the positive changes to what we do, not just the fads.
In essentialism, Greg McKeown defines essentialism as, “less but better.” We do a lot in our classrooms, not all of it better. We have started to see politicians make grand pronouncements about what they think education should look like going forward. As Mr. McKeown states, “we can either make the hard choices for ourselves or allow others . . . to decide for us.”
My first draft of what I think are essential to education is this:
- Passion – we have to help children identify what they are passionate about and use that to personalize their learning.
- Empowerment – we have to empower students to take control of their own learning, which means we have to give up control.
- Inquiry – we have to help students understand that life is about asking questions not about having all the answers.
- Understanding – we need to help students truly understand and be able to apply what they learn to novel situations.
That’s my short list. I realize that these are four very broad ideas. However, I think they are a good start. I would love to hear what you think about how pandemic learning can change what we do for the better. Please answer one or more of the questions below or make your own list of essentials in education in the comments.
How will distance learning change what we do permanently? What do you think is essential in education? What are the core values we should be using to guide what we do in classrooms across America?