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Leading in a changing world

Leading in a changing world

The world is changing, in fact, if we look closely it has changed already.

 The question is that as leaders have we updated our beliefs accordingly to suit the needs of the current times? Is well-being a part of our philosophy? Are we preparing our children for the future? In the knowledge economy is ignorance still bliss? In the world of artificial intelligence, where does emotional intelligence stand? Should our roles as leaders be redefined?

As an educationalist, it is essential to believe in diversity. Every child is unique with his/her unique set of talents. Our role is not just to identify them but also to help the parents understand to never compare their children to the success of their siblings, cousins, friends, etc. The reason for that is every child experiences situations differently. But there are opportunities to co-exist that require respect, tolerance, and understanding of the differences in personalities and views which should peacefully coexist. Diversity is what makes the world beautiful and differences in opinion give rise to creativity. And if creativity is one of the objectives of the school, respect for different opinions will cultivate it in the school culture.

As leaders, we need to understand that participation is important, but so is winning. Accordingly, we need to develop a culture of winning by allowing our staff and students to compete and evolve against the best version of themselves. However, everyone cannot and should not be a winner because loss is a great teacher. So, when we lose we need to learn how to lose gracefully and investigate what we learned from it to create valuable insights. Ignorance is a curse and so is entitlement. Hence, as leaders, we need to find the right balance which is grounded in humility, hard work, and most importantly a curiosity to learn, unlearn and relearn.

There is a physical world outside and then there is a world inside. While the physical world appears to be more real, what determines the quality of our lives is the world inside – the world of the heart and mind. As a school community, for our children, we have catered very well to the physical conditions and environments. However, unfortunately, we have neglected the world of the heart and mind. A world where we tell our children that emotions can be empowering, if we understand them, see them, and skillfully act while they are present. Whatever emotions we practice become stronger, so practicing joy, gratitude, calmness, and patience can be a liberating experience. Interestingly, in the world these children are growing in, they will require a balance and great self-esteem to differentiate human intelligence from artificial intelligence. Because we can feel and learn, while Chat GPT can only learn. Hence, emotional intelligence and human connections, and especially connections based on vulnerability will define our existence.

Finally, we must remember that leaders are visionaries, not dictators. It is our responsibility to inspire our teachers to be kind, open-minded, and responsible because these values enshrined in the Mission statement, can only be taught by someone who has them. Operating a school system successfully for 20+ years isn’t valid proof that the system is the most relevant and efficient; just like being in a marriage for 20+ years isn’t a sign of how successful the marriage is.

Hence, along with a School Improvement Plan, we ‘the Educationalist’ need to have a Self-Improvement Plan, with real targets and frequently structured walkthroughs in our minds.

As Educationalists, our attempt should be to connect the home and school, allowing it to evolve into a strongly knit learning community. A community of mutual respect and understanding. A community that breeds responsible societies. We should feel privileged to personally interact with children and be amazed at their appetite to learn and grow. Our mission if we are to accept it should be to provide a safe space for children to express their social and emotional needs while we listen very carefully to them. Very fortunately our big titles and positions allow us to sincerely appreciate our children for their hard work and commitment to school projects, events, activities, and life in general. Please prepare these wonderful children for life and not just to join other prestigious schools and universities. My dear Educationalists, please remember:

"Education does not transform the World. Education changes people. People change the  World."  Paulo Freire

Yours Sincerely

Kamil Majeed

The Not-So-Ordinary Principal.