I have spent a great deal of time in my career thinking about what I stand for, what I believe in, while defining my core values. All of these things guide my decision making and shape my work as principal, teacher, father, husband, coach, son, brother, and the other roles that I play. It is very important to define our core values and beliefs; I have talked and written about this in the past. However, I have come to realize this is only the first step in the improvement process. The next step involves action.
Most of us would agree that saving money is a necessity for a productive life, as unexpected circumstances rear their heads. I believe this is an important practice; however, if I am not intentionally setting money aside in my savings account, there is a disconnect between my beliefs and actions. I can think about, talk about and even publish my beliefs about saving money, but if my actions are out of alignment with my beliefs, I am not going to have additional money in my savings account. This seems like common sense, but is it common practice?
We spend a lot of time in schools developing plans for improvement, and often within these plans, we establish core values and beliefs of the organization. I am an advocate for this work because when we know what we stand for, what we are working to achieve, and where we are headed, it is much more likely that our goals will be met. We're fooling ourselves, if we don't believe the real work comes in the actions. I can communicate to anyone and everyone that "All Children Can Learn;" however, if I do not differentiate instruction within my classroom, respect students as individuals, or provide them with a voice, then my actions are out of alignment with this belief. It is easy to talk about the things that we value, but much harder to ensure actions mirror the beliefs.
This is a constant challenge for me, as I work to be the best educational leader I can be. I talk with our staff members often about my core beliefs, and I truly believe they have a clear understanding of where I stand. I must continue to monitor my actions and be very intentional with the decisions that I make to ensure they are aligned. When we are able to define what we stand for, what we believe in, how we want to be seen, and have the actions to back up these thoughts, we will be at a place where the sky is the limit for improvement.