One year ago I was selected to be a Google Certified Teacher and off I went to Chicago to spend a day at Google’s offices. Aside from all the terrific people I met and the network that I acquired through that process, I was in awe of the Google Goodness. Let me be clear, I use Google tools but I wouldn’t say that I’m a Google fanboy. There are concerns there that don’t belong in this post. However, throughout the day, we had the opportunity to interact with some of the folks who work at Google and got a little peek into their philosophy. After a year, the one phrase that sticks out most in my mind is, “Great isn’t good enough”. I don’t remember who said it or really even the context in which I heard it but I remember distinctly the fire that it stirred in me. The want to do things big. To not be satisfied with “good enough” or even “great” but to push past that to another level yet undefined.
Great isn’t good enough. How would that philosophy play out in education? Is it about students making the “perfect” project? Is it about making AYP year after year? Is it high scores on standardized tests? It could be, but I look at it not in terms of measuring oneself against a set bar or in comparison to another district/state/program etc., but rather, I think it has to do more with internal motivation. Everyday when I go to work, my hope is that I’ve made my building, my district and education as a whole a little better than it was the day before. It could be the culmination of a 6 month project, or it could be as simple as showing a teacher how to use a tool, but whatever it is, I want every interaction that I have with teachers and students to be meaningful and “great”. As my own kids have started school, I want every day to be beyond great for them. I want them to discover and grow. I want them to have that internal drive to strive for their best and to know that there’s always room for improvement. Yes, in some case, “great” will have to do and it others “good” or “good enough” will work. But, when it comes to my work and the importance that education plays in the lives of students everywhere I don’t know that “great” will ever be “good enough” for me.