The value of value

Rose & shadow

Rose and shadow. ankakayCC BY

We have a new principal at our school.

On his office wall is a certificate presented to him by his previous school: “Most likely to make you feel appreciated and valued.”

That word, valued, set my thoughts firing like electrical arcs in a dozen directions.

The first thing that came to mind, strangely, was an image of light and shadow. From an artist’s perspective, in artist terminology, value is the shading that gives depth to a two-dimensional object, almost magically transforming it visually to three dimensions. Values make an image pop, bring it to life.

A fascinating concept for a leader of a school, or any leader, isn’t it – to be an artist of sorts, to harness the light and the shadows of the given entity, to have a vision, to go beyond the surface and bring depth, meaning, and make it work. Artistically speaking, that’s the value of value.

Another image was immediately conjured – the vast machinery of systems. Have you ever had the sensation of being a tiny cog rotating in a mind-boggling conglomeration of structures that do not fit well or operate properly together, with old, vintage pieces welded precariously to shiny new ones, like something out of steampunk? As the cogs we cannot even see the full extent of the machinery looming far beyond us; we can only feel the unwieldy vibrations as it lumbers on. That’s often how education feels today. In truth, it’s not the structures that hold things together and keep everything running – it’s the cogs, the teachers. Teachers are the most crucial pieces – and the end product isn’t the perfectly standardized student. The students aren’t end products at all – don’t we want them to keep growing, learning, discovering, contributing, as long as they live? That’s something no machinery can produce.

Which gets back to value.

To value something means to hold it in high regard, to recognize its worth and usefulness. We value things that are important and beneficial to us.

My thoughts branch out into a hierarchy of what-ifs:

What if systems valued schools more than data? What if they scaled back and simplified rather than adding on?

What if principals communicated their value of teachers through their actions instead of words?

What if teachers made all students feel valued – and valued their differences? And taught students to do the same?

What if everyone realized that these are matters of the human heart and spirit?

I can see the light and shadows separating already, magically transforming things, creating a depth that’s been needed for so long.

slice-of-life_individual

7 thoughts on “The value of value

  1. I think you and your new principal will be getting along just fine. You describe the education system so well.. love this line- “mind-boggling conglomeration of structures that do not fit well or operate properly together, with old, vintage pieces welded precariously to shiny new ones, like something out of steampunk?” Love your deep reflection and thoughts about value and where that took you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the imagery of light and shadows – and the picture you included; I loved these words especially, “for a leader of a school, or any leader, isn’t it – to be an artist of sorts, to harness the light and the shadows of the given entity, to have a vision, to go beyond the surface and bring depth, meaning, and make it work.” Imagine if this is how we chose our leaders!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad you liked the picture – I struggled with that choice. I loved the starkness of it and the fact that a rose symbolizes hope and new beginnings. I am happy to know that those lines were meaningful to you. Leaders have to be such visionaries and inspirers, to successfully guide others forward. It’s a weighty job!

      Like

  3. I love all of this! I think value might just be the most decisive factor in creating a school culture–you can tell the instant you walk in the door if the teachers and kids feel valued or not. I especially love your last question–“What if everyone realized that these are matters of the human heart and spirit?” It’s definitely time for everyone at all levels to start embracing that idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you and that line you reference is also one of my favorites – the humanity piece seems to get shuffled or lost all too often. It often seems that the appearances of things are more important than the depth of them. I could write ever so much more! When people feel valued, they are energized – the atmosphere is charged with it, and yes, you are right, you can sense it on entering the building.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s