Thursday, August 15, 2019

A New School Year Begins!

"Everyone is a genius.  But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."  Albert Einstein

This morning, for the sixth school year, I had the honor and opportunity to address my Ross Valley School District colleagues at our annual "Welcome Back" meeting.  My message this year focused on a common, but powerful saying that we've all probably heard many times ...

"You shouldn't judge a book by its cover." 

Back in elementary school, this was the go-to saying of one of my most beloved teachers, who would often wag her finger back and forth as she said it.  Even as very young students my classmates and I knew that our teacher wasn't talking about actual books. She was talking about us and the importance of learning to not make assumptions, draw conclusions or infer intent regarding others, based on limited and/or superficial information. 

It was a good message then and still is today.

In sharing this message with my colleagues I challenged us all to remember that when our students arrive next week for the first day of the 2019-20 school year, they are far more than the "covers" we may see on the surface.  Instead, we can choose to see each of them as a book with his or her own unique story.  If we care enough to take the time to truly learn more about our students' stories and if we share a bit of our own stories with them, we begin to build a meaningful connection whose byproduct will be the richest and deepest teaching and learning of all.

John C. Maxwell summed it up perfectly when he said, "Students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

I am looking forward to a promising year ahead and opportunities for our students and us to add some new chapters to our stories.