The Absence of Value

medium_3887821803The always awesome Seth Godin posted a quick entry on his blog in January entitled “The cost of neutral“. He discusses an example from the business world, but it applies equally to education. Godin writes,

“Not adding value is the same as taking it away.”

What a powerful statement, particularly in the context of our current furor over “value-added” measures for teachers. It rings true for me in so many ways:

  1. As a teacher, if my students finish my class no better off than they would have been without me, then I have taken something from them… time and motivation.
  2. As a colleague, if I don’t actively participate in collaborative meetings and activities, my team is worse off than if I never attended.
  3. As a teacher leader, if I don’t provide professional development that is meaningful and useful to my staff, they would have been better off anywhere else.

These ring true, don’t they?


Aphorists Mentioned

I was partaking in my typical news-geek hobby of listening to news shows on NPR (in this case, All Things Considered), and I caught the end of an interview with author James Geary. His obvious love for aphorisms (or, as my 8th graders would probably call them, “sayings”) was captivating. He described them as tidbits of brain candy (that’s me paraphrasing). He was talking about his new book, “Geary’s Guide to the World’s Great Aphorists“, and I was immediately sold. I took a ride to the local Barnes & Noble after school today, and I picked up a copy.

If you’re a fan of aphorisms, and would like to know more about the people who wrote them, I highly recommend this book. Perhaps, you’ll find your brain on a sugar high afterwards.