To Sharpen The Saw is to invest in ourselves. We are the saw. We need regular and dedicated maintenance if we are going to function at our best. As I watched this week's screencast I immediately thought of what our 20% project from EDL630 did for me: It provided priority space in my life for learning something I have always wanted to learn. I'm not proud of the fact that it took a mandatory school project to finally get me there, but the experience, both in reality and philosophically, was so valuable. In fact, it was during that project that I was reminded of the idea that I need to make regular time in my life to Sharpen The Saw, especially in the midst of a busy life full of school, work, and home abundance.
As a leader in education, Sharpening The Saw means to stay in continuous growth as a leader and an educator. It will be important to always be reading new material relevant to my area of expertise, to stay abreast of new technology and research-based methods of teaching and learning, and to remain in conversation (through professional development conferences and events) with other people in education. Sharpening the saw will keep me relevant and knowledgeable, able to carry on conversations and have true opinions about what is emerging in education. It will also help me to know which questions to ask and who to talk to when difficult decisions need to be made. In order to be a great leader I will have to invest as much into myself as I invest into my organization and the people I lead.
This has been an interesting conversation to have with my boys, all of whom have big passions they pursue regularly. One of my sons argued that at some point he might know everything there is to know about the art of using a GoPro camera, or about skateboarding. This led to a passionate breakfast table debate, full of examples offered by his brothers of how there is always a new technique or trick to try. The consensus by the end of breakfast was that there will always be something new to learn, and that it would be worth their time to keep learning. "How do you think those awesome guys get so awesome!?" was my favorite quote from that conversation. I definitely want to "get awesome", so Sharpening The Saw has to be part of my regular practice.