Excellence or Mediocrity - The Choice is Simple

Posted by Jonathon Wetherington on 9/8/2019 6:30:00 AM

One of my favorite quotes is also one that is a bit unnerving. It is a quote from Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't” and it appears below. 

“Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don't have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don't have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.” - Jim Collins, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't

The quote states plainly that we fail to reach greatness because we are satisfied with good enough or fine or okay.  This satisfaction with “good” is not evil or wrong, but it is an open acceptance of mediocrity. Personally, I am okay with some mediocrity in my life, and most people actually are as well.  I am okay with good or mediocre weather, commute times, paper clips, and copy paper quality. In the case of each of these items, it is acceptable to me to trade excellence or perfection for a normal quality experience because of the other decisions or constraints in my life.  However, I am not okay with our students’ learning experience just being good. I expect our teaching and learning to be full of greatness that includes meaningful, engaging, and relevant learning experiences. Experiences that transform the student experience and prepare our students for an innovative and creative future. This pursuit of greatness is why we engage in digital and project based learning, and it is the reason that Paul Duke STEM was created. It is why we embrace a vision of excellence at Paul Duke STEM, and it is why we are working constantly to improve our instructional practices. Most of all, this dissatisfaction with good enough is makes me proud to be principal of our school and inspires me to be my best for the faculty at staff at Paul Duke STEM. Thank you for making the leap to greatness and refusing to accept mediocrity.