When society has lost its mind, how do you stand tall in your convictions?
Do you have this type of conviction?
The picture in this post is believed to be August Landmesser. The only man among a sea of fellow countrymen standing on the right side of history.
August joined the Nazi party himself, but by the time the picture was taken he was keenly aware of the bullshit the Nazi party was feeding Germans about Jews.
And he stood in opposition to those lies.
Can you imagine the courage and conviction he must have had to stand, arms-crossed, defiant and unwilling to go along with the frenzied crowd?
I have a number of enemies when it comes to school leadership and education.
At the top of that list is the STATUS QUO.
Doing things “because they’ve always been done this way” is a TERRIBLE reason to do anything.
The philosopher, Jiddu Krishnamurti once said, “Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay.”
Tradition is often used to protect sacred cows — those seemingly “untouchable” aspects of your organization that no one cares to discuss.
The topic is too volatile. The tradition is too entrenched to create meaningful change.
Like the story of the golden calf, tradition can act as an idol in our schools and rob us of our living out our purpose.
Some of these “traditions” are systems that exist in school. Some are mindsets that do not serve us.
For example, we should question:
- The 8-period day with 45–50 minute classes.
- Who has access to advanced classes.
- Who gets labeled SPED.
- Everything regarding discipline!
- The ‘white washing’ of history (If Germany can wrestle with their troubled past, why do Americans prefer to ignore it?)
- Complaining educators aren’t respected in society (why are you looking to others for affirmation?!?)
- The thought that educators don’t get paid enough (you are a part of the global 1% richest … perspective!!!)
- Complaining about lack of time
- Or parents
- Or students
- And so on …
All traditions should be questioned and after investigation, kept if they are in service of the school.
Challenging the status quo will require conviction. It is not easy.
Not easy at all.
But it’s a lot easier to be like August … to challenge the status quo … when you have a community of support behind you.
The value of consistent mentorship for school leaders
Recently, I asked members of our mastermind why they chose to join our community.
Here is what they said:
Ben said, “The connection and support within the district is actually quite good, but I value the dedicated time each week in the mastermind. The different world views and perspectives are invaluable. Tunnel vision that exists in our district and I want to know what other savvy school leaders are doing to create a world-class educational experience for their community.”
Erica, a first-year principal, said, “The mastermind is a really good weekly check in. I don’t have to do this, I choose to. At first, it was kind of intimidating because I thought, ‘I’m just an AP.’ Now in my first year as principal, I learn so much from everyone and the different perspectives.
Sometimes I don’t even realize how much I’ve learned until something happens in the context of the day and I realize … ‘We talked about this in the mastermind. I know what to do here.’”
Lizzy, an international school principal in Nepal, found school leadership extremely isolating. “I felt like an anomaly. I wanted to grow and looked for professional development focused on leadership. Others weren’t doing it and I found a like minded group in the mastermind.”
Fred said, “I always look forward to it and come away with so much. Danny, you always say ‘Everyone wins when a leader gets better. Everyone wins when you get better.’ My community is winning because of my participation in the mastermind. And I have bragging rights … I’m meeting with people all around the world to discuss education and leadership in depth. This is super cool.”
Demetrius joined as an AP and is now in his 3rd year as principal. He said, “I wouldn’t have been ready to be a principal without the mastermind. Graduate school gives you a certificate to be a school administrator. The mastermind shows you how to do it. Plus, the relationships are gold.”
Join a community that will nurture, challenge, and help you grow as a leader
School leadership is already isolating and tough enough.
Now in a highly politicized environment, where both sides continue to dig their heels deeper into the ground, it can feel impossible to stand for what you believe to be right and do what is best for your community.
Why do it alone?
Whether you join my mastermind or another, the call to action is the same.
Find some group that will nurture you, challenge you, and help you evolve as a leader.
Ready to Level Up?
And if you want to know what a mastermind is all about, check out my book that is releasing October 8 on this topic.
You don’t have to wait until October 8 to start reading … check out the first chapter for FREE here: https://www.betterleadersbetterschools.com/freechapter/