Sharpen Your Saw…

So after 5 years, and countless hours of research and writing, and entries from over 10 countries and from 4 different continents, I’ve finally reached my 150th blog post…who knew there was so much to write about in the field of education? When I first started putting my thoughts out there it was simply to try and open up a dialogue with my Upper School faculty at that time, and to try and find a way to stay current. I eventually started sending my posts out to educator friends of mine from all over the world to see if we could bounce ideas off of one another, and to hear about what was working and not working in their schools. It was a little scary at first, sharing my thoughts and perspectives with others because not everyone has agreed with everything that I’ve written over the years. It was hard at the beginning to be that vulnerable to push back and to criticism, and there were times that felt nervous hitting the send button…but those days are long, long gone. You see, it’s the push back and criticism and the differing perspectives that I’ve grown to embrace, because honestly, that’s where the learning lives!
        Stephen Covey once wrote about the importance of “sharpening the saw”, or pushing yourself out of your comfort zone so you can grow as a person. He shared the story of the woodcutter who was continually frustrated with the inefficiency of his dull blade, and how he constantly lamented the fact that he didn’t have the time to stop and sharpen it. Well, I’ve come to realize that if you don’t take the time to share your thinking, and to open yourself up to another perspective or avenue of thought, then you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to grow, and improve, and to sharpen your saw. The best part of sharing my posts these days is not what I put out there to the world from my perspective, but what I get back! One of the best parts of my week is when I wake up on a Monday morning to comments or messages or questions from friends and colleagues from around the world. They send videos, and articles, and share posts of their own, and each week I become a better educator and a better leader because of what they share back with me.
        A perfect example of this happened not that long ago when one of my best friends (and one of the best educational leaders on the planet incidentally), Andy Ferguson from AISJ in South Africa, sent me a video clip and a website about an educational documentary called, Most Likely to Succeed. I had heard rumblings about this film but I hadn’t seen the trailer, and Andy sent it to me as a follow up to something that I was thinking about with regards to finding ways to break away from the restrictive and antiquaited model of traditional schooling. We’re both passionate about progressive education, and by sharing with each other we can go down this road together…and it’s not just the two of us, we’re sharing with educators from all over the planet to find ways to move our schools forward as an international community.
        The best decision that I’ve ever made as a professional was to start sharing my blog posts each week with as many people as I can. I’ve grown immeasurably as a school leader, and I’ve become a better educator and a better friend and a better father and a better person. I’ve tightened up what I believe about education, and I’ve solidified my role and responsibility as a change agent for my students and faculty. The last 5 years have flown by, and 150 posts doesn’t seem like that much as I look back on it, but to tell you the truth they’ve changed my life for the better. So, all that said, I want to challenge you all this week to start sharing your thinking if you’re not doing so already. Start a blog or engage in a twitter conversation or write an article for ASCD or TIE or MiddleWeb or any other educational organization…put yourself out there and take a risk. It takes courage at first but what you’ll get back from that courageous first step will make your blade razor sharp! Thank you for the last 5 years everyone and keep pushing back and sharing…here’s to another 150 or more! Have a fantastic week everyone and remember to be great for our students and to share with each other.
Quote of the Week…
Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others.
Relevant Articles –
Most Likely to Succeed Documentary –
Interesting Videos –

About Daniel Kerr

I am currently the Intermediate School Principal at Academia Cotopaxi in Quito, Ecuador. A Division of almost 300 students Grades 3 through 8 with just under 40 faculty members. I have an amazing wife, Jocelyn, an educator who is currently working as a counselor here at AC, and two beautiful children, Max and Gabby who are both with us in this amazing school. I am passionate about education and blog weekly about my thoughts and vision at www.mondaymusings.org. Check it out!
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