Emulating Our Mentors

A high school friend of mine who chose an army career posted a video on Facebook yesterday. It was an address by Canadian Army Commander Lieutenant-General Marquis Hainse to those in a senior leadership course.

He started by saying “Welcome to THEY”. He clarified by saying that the leaders were now those referred to in “They made the decision” and “They don’t know what they’re talking about”. He then told the commanders that while it was important that they need to be the person in charge, they also needed to give as much influence as possible to the “chief”. His reasoning was that “when you take your parade every morning and you look at all of those soldiers…most of them don’t want to be like you, you the CO. They want to be like your Chief”.

This analogy works on all kinds of levels. It certainly applies in the business world with CEOs, executive officers and management teams but I think it also works at a school like ours. Mr. Macdonald and Mr. Philbrook have their principals, the principals have their teachers and the teachers have their students. Each level strives to emulate the example given to them by the person or persons just above them and thereby become leadership models for the group below them. And at a school like ours where we have Pre School to Grade 12, the older students are exemplars for the younger ones. I look at our high schoolers and see excellent role models for our junior and intermediate students. They in turn are a wonderful template for what a primary student should strive.

Do you remember your favourite teacher from your school days? For me it was my Grade 8 teacher, Mr. Snell. He was the first teacher who did not allow me to just “coast” through the year; he would not accept anything but my best effort and my “best” kept getting better as the year progressed. I didn’t have another teacher like that throughout high school but I know that my daughters have a number of teachers here at our school who were mentors to them. These teachers both continue to inspire them to do their best and force them to re-evaluate what their “best” is each year.

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College / TEAM School

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