Saturday, October 28, 2017

Pursuing dreams and enhancing the lives of others

I've always loved our school's mission statement, which among other things states:
We inspire all of our students ... to pursue their dreams and enhance the lives of others.
I was thinking about those words this morning when I read the following sentence in The Innovator's Mindset:  "Dreaming is important, but until we create the conditions where innovation in education flourishes, those dreams will not become a reality."  I also reflected on one of the "what if" questions:
What if everyone in our organization, not just our students, was encouraged to pursue his or her dreams?
I asked myself, is my school one where everyone is encouraged to pursue his or her dreams and enhance the lives of others?

As I'm at my mother's in the UK right now I've been watching a fair bit of television and I was really interested in the BBC programme The Ganges with Sue Perkins.  In Episode 1 Sue took a trip to the source of the Ganges, and in Episode 2 she was at the holy city of Varanasi.  Watching these programmes reminded me of a colleague at ASB who decided last year to become the first person ever to kayak the whole length of the Ganges - going from the Gangotri Glacier at the source of the Ganges to the Bay of Bengal at its mouth.  I know that when Brendon asked the school for the time off to do this journey he spoke about the ASB's mission and about how this was a dream that he wanted to pursue.  On his Ganges 2016 Facebook page he wrote:
Why am I doing it?
A challenge really. First and foremost because I am a Physical Education teacher and I consistently teach students about goal setting. One day I wondered whether I was practicing what I was preaching. I was always encouraging students to aim high, believe in themselves, extend themselves. To put themselves out there, reach for their true potential. The question was, was I? Hence this challenge.
Another part of our school's mission was also alluded to by Brendon as he wrote, "In India at the moment there is a major focus on cleaning up the Ganges river to enhance the lives of those living around and supported by the river. I thought it would be fantastic to travel along the river and see what changes were happening and hopefully bring attention to the changes being made."

George Couros writes: "In a place where every learner is encouraged to reach his or her dreams, these "what ifs" can become reality."  ASB is certainly such a place!

Anyone interested in knowing more about Brendon's journey can visit the Facebook page Ganges Source to Sea.

Photo is dawn on the Ganges, taken by me at Varanasi in October 2015

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