Be a Learner to be a Leader

The mini-bio posted on my blog says that “I’m an Associate Principal at an international school in Quito, Ecuador. That’s my job but only one piece of who I am; other parts include brother, friend, educator, traveler, reader, risk taker and sports enthusiast.”  The problem, I’ve recently realized, with this bio is that it’s missing a few pieces.  The first piece, most people wouldn’t necessarily include in a bio, “I’m not as good at any of these things as I’d like to be.”  The other part is that I’m a learner, trying to grow, and be better at all of these things and more!  

On our most recent holiday Amy and I traveled to the Galapagos, wow, what a trip!!  During the trip we met some really interesting people, none more interesting to me than our naturalist guide.  He’s been guiding in Galapagos for 26 years and knows A LOT!  Throughout the week, if I wasn’t underwater looking at all the amazing marine animals then you could surely find me walking along side our guide asking him questions or just listening to what he had to say.  On one of our walks he said something that got me thinking deeper, he mentioned his recertification process for being a Galapagos naturalist guide.

You see, it makes sense…to guarantee the best quality naturalist guides they require them to attend regular classes to learn about the new scientific research and biological information being learned through research in the Galapagos.  The guides then need to demonstrate their knowledge in order to maintain their license to guide, thus ensuring that each guide meets a certain level of competence.  This all makes perfect sense and is incredibly logical, I mean who wants a poor guide with outdated knowledge?!?  

This got me thinking about my career, who wants a poor educator with outdated knowledge?  

I hope the answer to that question is rhetorical.  As educators we all seem to have a predisposition towards being up-to-date on the best educational practices available.  However, it’s not easy, especially from an international post where resources may not be as readily available as in our home countries.  So what do we do to ensure that we’re the best we can be?

Going back to my bio – I’m adding “learner” to my bio because it truly is a piece of who I am.  I work to read as much as possible about current educational research and best practice.  I try to build my network of resources and work hard to improve a little bit each day.  It is one of my personal goals to be a better person today than I was yesterday.  That includes professionally AND personally.  

I’ve realized over the last few years that life is reflected very often in our jobs and vice versa.  Reading this great blog post the other day made me start thinking about how important this really is to my life.  I’ve often worked to be better at my job by applying my outside life to the things I do at school but I’ve never gone so far as this article suggests, I’m going to give it a try.  Similarly this article about 10 activities you can do at lunch to make yourself a better professional/educator/person.  They’re not difficult, nor are they things that are boring, have a look and think about them the next time you walk out for lunch.

It’s a joy working with such dedicated and professional colleagues.  Knowing that the people who’ve read this will actually go out and think a little deeper about how they can grow is exciting, we’ve got such an amazing community here at AC – it’s inspiring!!