I did not realize just how important perspective was until becoming a school administrator. Over the past several months I have been reminded of the importance of perspective in life. As a public school administrator I am constantly having to look at situations from the perspectives of others. Why? Because I need to understand the importance of the decisions I make.
Working in public schools means that you must serve all points of view and all perspectives. Those points of view and those perspectives are not always going to see eye to eye. Sometimes those points of view and perspective challenge your own thinking. How do you handle those differences in your school? In your classroom? In your decision making processes?
We all come with our own set of experiences that shape our thinking and our perspectives. Some of us are more experienced than others but that does not mean we cannot take the time to see the views of others. In fact, we must take the time to see the views of others because that is the only way we can really understand each other. As educators, we also must help our students learn to see the views of others. This is important to grow and develop a civilized society that can respect the perspectives of others, even when we disagree.
Sometimes I think we have lost sight of the importance of perspective in our culture. The need to be right. The desire to be the one to share the news first. The feeling we get when we think we know better than someone else. All of these situations occur when we do not see other’s perspectives.
Shortly before retiring from public school work Dr. Eddie Coulson said that if he learned one thing in his time as a superintendent, it was the need to listen. Listen to the point of view of others. Seek to understand where others are coming from. Don’t be quick to make decisions. Be quick to listen.
His advice was simple but extremely powerful.
Recently there have been issues come across my desk or in my email inbox that have required me to make a choice. My choice was to make a decision based off the limited information available to me or to take the time to gather more information, have conversations to gain more perspective, and then make a decision. I have learned that if I do not seek other perspectives, then I am failing to understand before working to be understood.
When I do not take the time to learn the perspectives of others am I really serving the interest of all of those that I serve?
Think. Achieve. Succeed.
A lifelong learner that is committed to asking questions to seek greater understandings.
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are
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