No Limit for Better.

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I think I’ve just found the title for my next book (which for those of you scoring at home… will be my first book).

When I said “found”, I meant stolen. I ripped the title off from my good friend Mr. Harrison Ford.

By “good friend”, I mean I’ve never met the man.We Have to Do Better.

You may remember him from the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies. Or maybe the movie where he played the President of the United States and beat everyone up on Air Force One.

I don’t know about you, but I like my Presidents to be able to hold their own in hand-to-hand combat with bad guys.

Harry (that’s what I call him) tells the story about working for a Russian architect when he was a young actor/carpenter.

This circumstance relates to everyone because who amongst us hasn’t worked for a Russian architect at one point or another?

That’s what I thought. We all have.

During a course of a building project he told the architect they needed to change a dimension by half an inch.

The architect responded by saying “No limit for better.”

This made me think of education.

Who am I kidding, everything makes me thing about education (summer vacation starts when???).

We should have the same attitude as the architect, but I think all too often we take the opposite approach.

In too many cases we aren’t interested in making even the smallest of changes.

In the last 30 years, far too many educators have taken the stance of improving conditions in schools as it relates to their jobs.

This is the opposite of what we should be doing. We should constantly be looking for improvements in practices that relate to students.

Whenever a new circumstance presents itself at school, our first reaction inside our heads is… “How will this affect me?”

And it should be “How will this help students?”

The question is how do we change the way we think?

And can we make the necessary changes before others do it for us?

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16 Responses to “No Limit for Better.”

  1. Karen Moore
    on Jan 10th, 2010
    @ 4:11 pm

    I love the idea of your book title. Would you mind if I “find” and use your blog to spark discussion among the teachers and administrators in my district?

  2. Ric Murry
    on Jan 10th, 2010
    @ 4:17 pm

    You’ve done it again. Great thoughts in a short post.

    Just saw you are a Greenville grad. I spent some time there. Went to high school in Salem, IL and played in tennis tournaments at the college in the late 70s. First real job was in Palmyra, IL. First son born in Litchfield. Brother-in-law lives near Paris, just down the road from you. Small world (online).

    All the best.

  3. Joan Young
    on Jan 10th, 2010
    @ 5:20 pm

    I love the simplicity and power of the phrase. I also nod my head in vigorous agreement (bobblehead style ;-) ) with your statement: “We should constantly be looking for improvements in practices that relate to students.” I get so frustrated with complaining teachers who forget that we are there for the kids first, ourselves last. ( Not to say I never complain, but I commit myself to action I can achieve when I am unhappy with a decision made at my school.) I wish that others realized, as you said, that we need to think before others inevitably will do it for us. Thanks for the entertaining and thought-provoking post.

  4. Kathy
    on Jan 10th, 2010
    @ 5:41 pm

    Wow. Nice slogan for the upcoming week. It’s not a question of changing how we think, but constantly remembering why we are here, what brought us here in the first place. BTW, Harrison Ford is my good friend too!

  5. mcorbett76
    on Jan 10th, 2010
    @ 6:07 pm

    I think this is my new slogan. My old slogan was “Don’t let good get in the way of great.” But this is shorter and gets the same point across. Thanks!

  6. Teach_J
    on Jan 10th, 2010
    @ 6:28 pm

    Our mutual pal Harry as Han Solo has two great quotes for this topic “No reward is worth this.” is what most teachers think when they first hear about any change and “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” is the second thing they think.

    I agree with you. But I think in many schools, especially high schools, where teachers specialize in a subject, change equates to job destruction. I think teachers would be more open to change if it came with a promise not to harm teachers too. Then teachers might be more open to embracing the new.

    But teacher get scared when they hear that the state is going to get rid of a curricular requirement – and they teach that required class. Teachers get scared when they think they will have to go back to college at 40, 50, 60 and spend thousands of dollars to get re-certified in a new area.

    Change is frightening and local, state and federal administrators need to help teachers face it in a way that is non-threatening. Too many times it is simply mandated with a heavy fist of consequences for noncompliance.

  7. Kelli
    on Jan 10th, 2010
    @ 7:18 pm

    OK. I totally agree with you. There is no limit for better. But there is a limit as to how much we as teachers can do. I am all over change(I have taught a total of 14 years and I have taught all the grades I am certified to teach K-8. No lie). Change for the better…change for kids so they get better. Change so I get better.

    Change for the sake of saying we changed? Not so much.

  8. Olwyn Hughes
    on Jan 10th, 2010
    @ 8:27 pm

    Wonderful quote!

    We are currently undergoing planning to tear down our current school and build one that is more earthquake safe. “No Limit For Better” makes me think about what one of the project managers on our building said. He told us that “the building is not the change” meaning that it isthe people within the building who need to stop and think about practices we have currently and if they are in the best interest of the children. We need to think about how we need to change and how that change will be reflected in a new building. It certainly became food for thought for me when I heard this.

  9. Marti Sides
    on Jan 10th, 2010
    @ 8:34 pm

    Great post. My first visit here and I loved it. Loved the humor…and the message. Will definitely continue to follow.

  10. Michael Linsin
    on Jan 10th, 2010
    @ 10:35 pm

    Your article makes me think of the current budget crisis here in California–and elsewhere. We are having to make some tough choices, and unfortunately, the needs of students seem to fall down the list of teacher priorities, behind jobs, salaries, benefits, etc.

  11. Angie
    on Jan 11th, 2010
    @ 7:45 am

    I love Parade magazine! :-)

  12. Alicia Kessler
    on Jan 11th, 2010
    @ 10:57 am

    Han Solo = perhaps my first (and last) crush on an action figure. (I grew up in Herrick, and if you think my parents were gassing up the ’79 Impala to drive me 30 miles to see a movie………) Anyway, Yoda has it all tied up: Do or do not. There is no try.

    I hope you enjoy the little relevance that had to your post.

  13. Aaron
    on Jan 11th, 2010
    @ 11:46 pm

    I was sent this link by a colleague and appreciate your concise summary of this issue. I too think that we need to really focus on the question “Is this best for kids?” and if not why bother? They our our clients, our motivation, at time our frustration, but always our inspiration! God knows we don’t do it for the money or social status. Thanks for the words and I appreciate the thoughts behind them!

  14. Cherie
    on Jan 16th, 2010
    @ 10:26 am

    I’m with Kelli. She said what I was going to say.

    Change for change’s sake isn’t good. Sometimes teachers’ resistance to change is GOOD FOR KIDS.

  15. Johnnie Kopperud
    on Jan 29th, 2010
    @ 2:25 pm

    You just can’t go wrong watcing Harrison Ford…I mean Indy :) .

  16. Lowell Wikins
    on Feb 9th, 2010
    @ 5:09 am

    Harrison is incredbily talented. I don’t think I’ve ever not liked one of his movies.

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