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Ideal Environments

On Friday, I received a request from a Grade 12 student who is working on an assignment for her class asking if I would respond to some questions. She is researching the idea of an “ideal” society, if it’s attainable and who/what is working towards making it “Ideal”. This student indicated that she wanted to interview the heads of institutions, such as schools, large businesses or hospitals to find out what they think is ideal within their “society” or institution.

I received the questions on Friday afternoon after our Open House, and while I had many other things to attend to, I found myself engrossed in answering the questions.

One of these questions asked what I saw as an ideal workplace. As I responded, I was reminded of my description, in my Open House speech that morning, of a learning environment that fosters risk taking. I realised that my expectations for both an ideal work place and an ideal learning environment were the same in that they have to foster opportunities for the individuals within them to learn and grow. As I had explained in my speech, an environment that allows us to grow must be one where all members of our community are able to:

  • hear / receive feedback without taking it personally or feeling crushed
  • keep coming back to the table with an open mind
  • be open to new ideas authentically support each others’ successes and growth
  • measure ourselves by our own growth as opposed to another’s, and
  • understand accountability as assurance of the fulfillment of a common purpose

It was good to finish up the day just as I had started: by thinking through what we deem important for St. Clement’s. It was even better that this moment had been incited by one of our students!

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