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Leadership, Reform, Teaching

“Greater than Yourself” Challenge

cc flickr photo: by wakingphotolife

School climate and environment plays such a critical role in student performance outcomes.  We know that in order for students to meet their full potential as learners, they must feel ownership in the educational process – a genuine sense of empowerment.  So why is it sometimes so difficult for us to relinquish control and give students (or colleagues) opportunities to be difference makers?

This morning, I had the opportunity to listen in on the keynote session of the Arizona Technology in Education Association’s , Way Out West virtual conference.  Angela Maiers (@angelamaiers) and Steve Farber (@stevefarber) gave a powerful presentation addressing Passion Driven Learning and Leadership that emphasized the importance of developing leadership qualities in students, as well as co-workers.

The pair challenged educators to rethink their daily approach to school by asking, how would schools be different if we said to kids (and colleagues), I am here to change your life because YOU are going to change the world?  What if we were deliberate in our approach to encourage and empower others to be difference makers?

As part of the presentation, Steve Farber shared the Paradox of Greatness:

The greatest leaders make others greater than themselves.

Truly meaningful and effective leadership evolves from the notion that we care for others and want to bring out the best in them.  As Steve shared, “the greatest leaders do it for a purpose greater than themselves!”  This led to the idea of Greater than Yourself (GTY) Projects – investing time and resources in someone else in order to change the world.  Consider the possibilities of engaging everyone on your campus (students and adults) in this process.  What if every person took on the responsibility of making someone else better?  It could be adults helping kids, teachers helping teachers, or students helping a peer.

Angela talked about the importance of giving kids a reason to “run” to school–an authentic purpose for school and learning.  As I consider this concept, I am excited about the potential for empowering students with GTY projects.  What a great way to begin to develop leaders, address issues of respect for others, and concerns about bullying–empower students to make a difference.

As you prepare for next week, consider, who will be your first Greater Than Yourself project?  Consider this unique strategy for sharing your passions with others and developing difference makers in your school.


About azjd

Junior high principal by day, aspiring difference maker, and Jedi in my own mind. Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly.


3 thoughts on ““Greater than Yourself” Challenge

  1. Nice work! My GYT project started last year on May 5th when I launched New Teacher Chat. We will be celebrating our 1 year Anniversary this coming week. Hoping to see it grow as time goes on… Cheers!

    Posted by Teachingwithsoul | April 30, 2011, 5:16 pm
    • Thanks for taking the time to comment Lisa. I am very familiar with New Teacher Chat –great resource 🙂 Enjoyed meeting you and listening to your presentation at this year’s ASCD conference.

      Posted by azjd | May 1, 2011, 7:35 am
  2. I loved the session as well! The GTY Challenge is such a worthwhile project! I plan to take part. Best wishes as you start your own.

    I wrote a quick blog yesterday after the session.

    Posted by Kathy Perret | May 1, 2011, 5:53 pm

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Jeff Delp

Junior high principal by day, sports enthusiast, technology fanatic and jedi in my own mind. Striving to be a difference maker!
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