Friday, September 17, 2010

Week 1: The Biggest Geek In The School

I am proud to be a geek.

I define a geek as someone who loves something beyond a common level of passion.  This is a person who finds the minutia related to the subject fascinating beyond other people's comprehension and allows interest to become part of what defines them.  Often we have negative thoughts about "geeks" because these are people who love something so much that they have no regard about whether or not their passion is "cool" or "in."

For example, I’m a music geek. I love breaking apart a song  and reading about stories behind the music which even though I find fascinating, most people do not. My brother-in-law is a Northwestern football geek. He who knows the names the players on the Northwestern University football team as well as the complex rules to this game. My wife is kind of a Harry Potter geek and revels in the weaving plot lines and foreshadowing throughout the series.

My new principal is a geek about our school.

Addressing the entire staff at the end of a day of meetings I was eager to hear what our fearless leader had to say.  I wondered why there was a desk with file folder holder with about eight folders filled with papers set up next to the podium. I thought maybe he’s going to hand out some awards or something but that thought quickly left my mind as he began to speak.

After some warm opening remarks he began to describe one of his accomplishments over the summer: cleaning out the file cabinets administrative office. Twenty-four long filling cabinets filled one side of the wall of the office containing documents from throughout the school’s over one hundred year history and he went through it all.

Like a Star Wars fan watching the premiere of a new film or like me listening to a new Bruce Springsteen album for the first time, my principal dove through mountains of papers with excitement and shared many of these fascinating documents with the staff.

At first I was though “really . . . REALLY, you’re going to read through this stuff to all of us?” But then like listening to anyone who is passionate about a subject speak about it, I couldn’t help but get drawn in.  He shared a variety of materials including  documents about the school trying to integrate African-Americans in the school in the 1960s philosophy statements written in 1930s about the purpose of the school that still rang true today.

What I found most touching was when our principal shared with us a hand-written note his father had written to the school about involving more board members in educational meetings.  It was a touching connection that our principal could feel with his late father that displayed a personal connection to this school that crossed generations.

I love how my principal is a geek about our school, our history and education as a whole. I love how he unapologetically “geeked-out” in front of the whole school sharing his passion and his love with all of us.  And I love how his passion sets a tone as a school where where I can be open about my passion about music education with students, teachers and parents feeling free to pass on my geeky fascination with the world of music to them. 

A school should be a place where passions should be embraced, people should study what they love and love what they study.

It's awesome to have a principal that shows us the way.

No comments:

Post a Comment