Several years ago, I was asked to craft a mission statement for a class. My eyes rolled to the heavens. I judged it an exercise in pretention. It was the same sort of reaction I get now when I hear people talk about Branding. It isn't pretty to admit but I can be rather judgy. I'm working on it. But, I digress. Back to the mission statement assignment. Eventually, I got over myself and came up with the statement that resides on all of my websites. It reads:
"Learning is a life long process.
Education assists people in becoming their greatest selves. A love of learning widens the possibilities of the mind, opens the heart to hope and understanding, enhances the capabilities of the body,
and deepens the capacity of the soul.
I teach to learn." This simple statement, was often the sole reason I was able to get out of bed in the morning when my teaching situation was one that would have broken me otherwise.
Grosse Pointe Academy has a new mission regarding technology integration. They have taken a bold move to go from a school with basically very little technology into an environment where it is as Chris Lehmann says, "Ubiquitous, invisible, and necessary." As I understand it, the school's mission is to integrate their influx of technology into their already strong curriculum so that it is used to create, produce, communicate, collaborate, and innovate. GPA would prefer to de-emphasize technology as a tool for consumption. Instead they would like it used as a tool to help students reach their full and unique potential as learners, creators, innovators, and leaders.
I believe that when teachers receive supportive, consistent development they are the change agents to bring about a shift in consciousness not only in their students but in the community as a whole, for we are all connected. My Mission Statement specific to this year reads, "To empower the GPA community to model and apply the ethical use of technology as a tool to create and innovate; communicate and collaborate, research fluently; and problem solve employing critical thought. To support the instructional staff as they design, implement, and assess lessons that engage students, develop Global citizenship and empathy, and establish a lifelong love of learning."
So with hard earned humility, I admit I have come full circle. Not only do I value mission statements, but I cherish the process of composing them, and I treasure the effect. Having a mission statement keeps me focused. It gives my work purpose and meaning. I hope that it leads to a shared vision and acts as a compass as we walk the unknown path. Who knows, maybe I'll even brand myself one of these days.