This quote expresses a sentiment that resonates with me. We, in education, are change agents. Whether we are classroom teachers guiding learners or ed tech coaches leading teachers to implement technology in the classroom effectively, we must engage and inspire in a way that fosters growth and the desire to change. Students need to want to learn. Teachers need to want to change their practice. It is not enough for us to want it for them, to demand it of them, or to just deliver good instruction, modeling, and resources. We need to motivate people to want it for themselves. I think this quote illustrates that concept beautifully.
Mandating, prescribing, and ordering gets us change that sticks around only as long as there’s something punitive attached. And sometimes not even then.
What type of ship ends up getting built with this “must-do” approach? A ship that barely meets the minimum requirements. A ship that receives only the prescribed care and attention will get out of dry-dock, onto the high sea and just out of site of the shipyard. After that, who knows?! Meanwhile, the group of individuals assigned to build the ship has left it behind and moved on to the next order. Whatever happens to the ship now is “someone else’s issue.” The builders were never a team, never invested, and never on board. To facilitate long-term change, teach your crew to long for the endless immensity of the sea.
When the team becomes a team by your concerted, ongoing efforts to establish a shared vision, when they want the change you want, you get a sturdy ship built for many journeys and a crew that has left a part of themselves ingrained above, below and on the deck. Even better, if you engage in the collaborative process with your team, you will probably get a better ship than originally designed.