A Painful Truth?

“By late December, we knew we had to make some changes. Admissions and advancement were down significantly, and we realized we would have to cut the following year’s budget by almost 10%.” The head of a small, co-ed boarding school confided.

“This meant, unfortunately, that we would have to lay off a number of our colleagues, and our leadership group struggled with how we should go about making a decision like this — one that would have such a profound impact on people’s lives, and on the the life of the school.

We came up with 7 different lenses through which to look at this. Experience, of course, was one, but others were expertise in teaching, coaching, directing, advising, as well as team player/good attitude and dedication to service. But what’s interesting is that, in the end, the deciding lens was “flexibility.” If you could teach in the middle school as well as high school, that became essential for us, because we have to run our entire program. And if you could teach in the math as well as science department, then we really needed to keep you.”

If the head of this remote boarding school has come across a seminal truth — that flexibility will become even more important as the economy changes — I wonder what we can do for our students as well as our teachers to promote this?

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One Response to “A Painful Truth?”

  1. Jon Smithy Says:

    Earlier this year I was in Brazil with our team. One of our forestry biologists, a Brazilian who was still trying to assess whether I was the real deal or ‘just another gringo’, asked me if I knew Darwin’s theory of evolution. I said, ‘Yes, he talked about survival of the most adaptable to change.’ Pablo stopped and looked at me for a moment and then said, ‘That’s right. He never said the fittest. That was Spencer.’ Then he continued walking and said, ‘Jeem, you will do well here if you remember that.’

    Flexible, adaptable, polymathematical… Couldn’t agree more. The one-trick pony left the stable long ago.

    Best to your gang…

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