"I would but." How often do we use that phrase in some way shape or form? Whether it be in our personal lives or at work, we say this or something like this right before we give an excuse. I believe that more often than not, this phrase is hurtful to us. This is especially true in education, where many teachers, administrators, and school leaders allow this phrase to hold them back.
What are the negative results of the "I would but" phrase? It gives us an excuse to not take risks. It prevents us from trying something new even if we think that it could be great. It represents us telling ourselves and our students that things would be better if only our situation was different. And that take all of our power away. "I would but administration does not support me." "I would but the school board has a different vision." "I would but the state is not giving us the funding we need." "I would but the students just won't listen." "I would but our kids just wouldn't know how to do that." These are things we say all of the time and don't realize how damaging this mindset is to our classrooms and our schools.
We want our students to be risk takers and relentless in the quest for success in life. We want them to take control of their future and to do everything in their power to be great. We want kids to work hard and not make excuses when things get tough. Someday our students will be wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, leaders, community members, business owners, and managers who will do whatever it takes to lead with integrity and drive. We can't do this without modeling this behavior ourselves.
Times have been tough with funding. We have more pressure than ever to implement state standard based curriculum. We are faced with whatever political trend is thrown our way in schools. But the constant is always going to be, "How are we going to make it happen for kids"? We have to apply for grants. We have to be willing to try new things that could very well fail. We have to connect with kids outside the classroom. We have to learn how to teach our kids about things that are relevant to them. We have to embrace the social media that is such a huge part of our student's lives. We have to do everything we can for our students because their success is our job and it is our future. We cannot teach kids that success lies in the hands of others. We must teach them that we are the ones in control of that. So lets replace "I would but" with "How are we going to make it happen for kids?"
Leading is Teaching.