Forrest Gump (1994) provides an interesting and unexpected viewpoint of his exercise routine. He runs… to run. He is not looking to finish a race or reach a goal. He is running to run. Witnessing myself working day in and day out has produced a similar feeling – working just to work. I don’t have an end goal. I’m so focused on the current process that I am losing sight of the outcome.
In the field of education, a constant focus is on the process of teaching, the process of learning, the process of ___ (fill in the blank). In a recent conversation, I was challenged with the idea of the process not being the metric of importance, but rather the outcome. So then is it the “outcome of the process” that is to be measured? I want to argue that the outcome should be a longitudinal measurement and the process is simply a means to an end.
If you are a teacher – are you focused more on your teaching style and bettering your process in exchange of losing focus on the long-term outcome of student success?
If you are an administrator – are you looking room-to-room to watch processes and attempting to regulate certain processes or are you allowing innovation to occur in light of long-term school success?
If you are a stakeholder (i.e. – parent, student, committee member, etc) – are you getting caught up in the daily mishaps of individuals or are you able to step back and focus on the larger picture of every student having a bright future? Are you hindering the success of a community by your selfish and simplistic mindset?
I want to challenge each individual to refocus and produce a clear vision this holiday season as you enter into your role. The down time with family and friends can lend itself to new ideas. Remember the longitudinal measurement of outcome as being your focus next time you find yourself complaining or even suggesting a new idea. Don’t be like Forrest Gump. Find yourself sprinting toward a goal of success!
Image from Ben Sutherland