Saturday, March 18, 2017

TOMMIE SAYLOR: Doing what's best often means sacrifice

“Let us sacrifice our today so that our children can have a better tomorrow.”
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

By Tommie Saylor
Kennedy High School Principal

It's what's best for the kids ...

Those are words we hear on a daily basis. But two different types of people often speak them.  There are those who speak these words out of convenience, a way to solicit a response, to pluck at our heartstrings and conscience.  Speaking these works like swinging a baseball bat, some people use these words for their own gain. 

But those of us who understand that these words have meaning far beyond what can be defined by Webster, doing what is best for kids are our “windmills” with whom we “tilt” at daily.  Those who truly understand these words will do what is best for kids regardless of how it affects them. 

Making the right decision may mean extra work on the part of the educator, maybe even bending a few rules because it is what is best for a specific student.  This can cause anxiety because those who live by these words often get shunned and ridiculed. 

But what others don’t understand is that it is about the student, not the rule. 

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating for anarchy. Rules need to be enforced, but they need to be enforced with understanding. In our world, there is no black and white, only shades of gray.

Doing what is best for kids often means standing against others, against policy and against convenience.  Often it means late nights, early days and very little sleep between.  Often it means no social life, breaking appointments and disappointing your own family.  It means placing your students’ needs before your own needs.

Truly doing what is best for kids means giving them the benefit of the doubt. It means that the learning trumps process and procedure. It means you recommend to the bosses the best course of action even if it means harming you personally – even if it may mean the elimination of your own job. 

When you begin placing the needs of your students before your own needs, then you understand what it is to do what’s best for kids.

Helping students to find their greatness. Making Kennedy High School the school of choice. Excellence by design.

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