3 min read

on capes and cliffs

You don't have to be Superman. You don't have to hold the world in your hands. You've already shown me that you can.
on capes and cliffs

A post shared by Jose Vilson (@thejosevilson) on Oct 23, 2017 at 2:41pm PDT

It's January first - the day in which we're all meant to start new, feel free of the last year, and boldly look to the next.

But I'm struggling, still exhausted from the end of last year at my place. Worried for myself and what that lifestyle choice actually means for me.

There has been many times this year, where despite the stress and confusion, I've felt capable of saying "I've got this - I can do this - I can be a leader in a school".

That's been really powerful - to know in myself, that not only do I want to lead a school, but to be aware of many of the stresses and all the challenges, and still feel confident enough to want to take on that role.

Because I think our schools, and by extension our society needs worthy, critically aware, deliberately focused leaders.

Leaders who hold their communities to account, who hold a valid and cogent line against the Ministry and the ed-tech acolytes.

Leaders who fight for their students and their needs. Leaders who engage with empathy, but hold true to their values and their vision.

Leaders who lead their staff, but know the value and importance of managing them also.

Because our leaders require the mastery of a complex set of skills and habits, to design, build and deliver the infrastructure and internal culture of our schools, such that teaching and learning can be delivered consistently and usefully within them.

But I worry about the cost of doing and being all that. The cost to friendships, to my family, to my health.

I sit here and know that despite all of those things a good leader must do, and I believe I can do, these things will never be enough.

For a society in which public education is barely a public good anymore.

For a media in which the only stories that sell are the ones that get clicks.

For a future facing tech sector, that sees public education as a target rich environment for future consumers.

For parents who, rightly or wrongly perhaps, see the point of a school to only be about the value it brings to their child.

Because we've made educators into superheros - that will only be super if they set out to not only build the future and save the future, but to do all of this (and this is the bit the messes with my head) - specifically because "we can't predict the future."

Talk about setting us all up to fail.

The only ones that win in this society, within which education sits, are those that as Jose says, get paid to be talking points.

Think about that - the only ones that our system truly rewards and honours, are the ones who tell us about the future that won't be there when we get there.

Who because our society values this self-made ability, are afforded platforms to stand and tell education and those within it, where it's failing that very same ill-defined future, and more directly how these teachers are failing their students.

And they get to do this constantly.

From that perspective, what actually makes being a leader in a school all worth it?

I know all across Aotearoa, teachers and support staff are decompressing and restoring their energies for the year to come. I wish them much rest and refreshment as they can possibly get.

I know there is much work to do.

But still, but still...

You don't have to be Superman

You don't have to be Superman

You don't have to hold the world in your hands

You've already shown me that you can
  • Rachel Platten
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