Posted by: darcymullin | March 25, 2011

Like Mr. Miyagi said…it’s all about balance

I guess you could say being a child of the 80’s, that Pop Culture had some lasting impacts.  In Karate Kid (the original), Mr. Miyagi told young Daniel-saan “Lesson not just karate only. Lesson for whole life. Whole life have a balance. Everything be better. Understand?”  What does that have to do with education?  Read on.

Earlier this week I wrote a post describing the first step of our school’s journey toward inquiry.  We began the journey before I was on twitter and the professional development that has afforded me.  What struck me was how pedestrian my post seemed.  It was not nearly as exciting as many of the things I read about on a daily basis.  Was I disappointed? No, certainly not, but it did get me thinking.

Like many, I am always impressed by the innovative things people are doing – I will often integrate ideas into my own practice.  I love reading about all the great things going on…I think we are only beginning to tap into the power of Social Media.  To say my practice has changed because of twitter is accurate, but has my school changed? Not really, at least not to the extent I want or envision.  That said, I am really proud of our school and the progress we are making.  Which is the reason behind this post.

I am thankful for those people who are continually pushing the envelope and knocking down the walls of change.  Without people out there on the edge pushing for much needed reforms, we as an educational community would not be moving forward.  However, that cannot be everyone.  In my context and my school, if I was knocking down walls and forcing people into the changes I would like to see, there would be revolt – and in my opinion it would be justifiable.

Just like students, educators need to learn on the edge of discomfort.  If we push people over the edge, the learning will cease and walls will go up.  Our school needs to continue to learn along with me, not from me.  We will make decisions together that fit our context and the students and families we serve.  Change will be slow, but continuous, and a culture of learning and will eventually permeate everything we do.  Not because I want it, but because I believe people will come to that conclusion as we learn alongside each other.  Like Mr. Miyagi said – life is about balance.

I  must remember to continue to reflect, learn and have patience.  Being an educational leader is about understanding my context and applying what I know and continue to learn to make decisions that will help our school become a community of learners.

Thanks for reading.  As always, I welcome your comments.



  1. Darcy, thanks for the post. I agree that educators need to keep moving to the edge. Or at least some of us do. I’ve learned that many people, teachers included, are quite comfortable occupying the “settled regions” of the profession. Not everyone has a courier de bois personality.

    I think that as a profession, we need to keep an eye open to those among us who not only move to the edge, but who return to tell the tale. Too often, we let them go, but don’t pay much heed to the things that they’ve discovered.

    It’s a curious thing, and your post has me thinking about it now in a slightly different way. I’ll look forward to others’ comments.


  2. Agreed Stephen. Without those leading the way, too many educators would be mired in mediocrity with no impudence to move beyond. We need to learn from those out on the edge – you’re right, sometimes their voices are not heard. It is the knowing and doing gap. I think more often than not, educators struggle with how to put theory into practice and don’t realize that implementing something new means that you must be willing to give something up.

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. Darcy, Stephen, I agree with what both of you are saying. There always have and always will be some educators who enjoying playing on the edge a little more. In the past, their experiments, thoughts and reflections were not as easy to access. But today, through the use of social media they can share their ideas with everyone. As you mentioned Darcy, it is important to have a balance of ideas within our schools, yet I remain hopeful that through avenues like Twitter, innovative ideas can be shared more efficiently and as a result our schools will progress forward quicker.

    I look forward to meeting both of you in person at Edcamp Vancouver!


    • Aaron, I appreciate your comments. I think Social Media does (and will continue to) play a vital role in sharing knowledge…particularly for those on the edge. Connections we make online allow us to have deeper more meaningful discussions when meeting F2F. Often, those prior discussions and connections will set the context for the F2F meetings.

      See you ar edcamp!

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