Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Energy Bus


I am fired up! Not from the dog days of summer, but from the anticipation of the beginning of a great school year for the students of Oconee County. This time of year is a favorite for most educators. The desire to get back to the daily joy of teaching and learning energizes us. As I have stated previously, it is a fresh start in many ways but with certain consistencies that withstand the hands of time.

One of these constants is that of the yellow twinkie, the cheese wagon, the yellow limo, or what some would simply call the school bus. These transporters of educational tradition will soon be traversing on roads all across America with students eager to start their day. At the helm will be dedicated professionals who ensure that these trips to and from school are safe and secure. As I drove by our transportation facility a few days ago and saw the preparation of our nearly 90 school buses taking place, I was reminded of a book that many of you may know, The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon.

In The Energy Bus Mr. Gordon discusses a variety of topics utilizing the bus as a central component to illustrate his message. One of those messages relates to how we should treat our “passengers” on the bus. The bus is a simple metaphor for our workplace, our home, or for the purpose of this correspondence, our schools. The passengers are clearly our students and community.

Yet, what is the focus for these passengers? In this instance it is love. Did I just say love? Yes, I did. Love defined as “an unselfish loyal concern for the good of another.” Below is a list of Five Ways to Love Our Passengers/Students:

  1. Make time for them.
  2. Listen to them.
  3. Recognize them.
  4. Serve them.
  5. Bring out the best in them.

As I reflected on these five items, it became clear to me that this is what great schools, great teachers, and great leaders are all about. We make time for students by engaging them in the present moment, listening to their perspectives, opinions, aspirations, problems, and triumphs. We recognize those items as important and individualistic. We serve their growth, both as students obtaining new knowledge and as people developing passions and creating personalized paths of success. In the end, we work to bring out their best.

I am curious. What item on this list is most important for your child and your family? What would you like your school and our school system to be recognized for? How do we best serve your student(s)? Is it to recognize, serve, listen, make time for, or bring out their best?

Let me know your thoughts at jbranch@oconeeschools.org.

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