Sunday, January 3, 2010

Mortenson’s “Stones into Schools” Model of Managing Resources

In the day-to-day business of running a school, it is often easy to get caught up in the concerns of what resources we lack in trying to educate our students. In tight budget years like the ones we are experience now, it is much too easy to become a pessimist and look at the proverbial glass as being half empty. Yet, after reading Greg Mortenson’s latest tome Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, In Afghanistan and Pakistan, the resource shortfalls I face in my school are so minor to seem insignificant. All of the complaints regarding limits on the number of copies, the inability to purchase those workbooks, and the lack of funding for the science project, just don’t seem as important any more. Mortenson’s second book, like his first Three Cups of Tea, is a not so subtle reminder that many times the magic of making education happen is not with the things money can buy, but with what happens between those teachers and students and the communities that support them. I was again moved by the author’s tale of trying to bring education to girls in a part of the world where some deliberately fight against those efforts, like the Taliban who literally threw battery acid in the faces of girls and their teacher in an effort to frighten them from getting an education. With that kind of resistance, how could I possibly complain about not having enough money to provide my teachers with interactive boards and laptop computer labs? Yet, Mortenson’s book touched me on a level beyond its focus on resources. It reminded me forcefully of why I became an educator and persist as one to this day. It is the promise of education that gives all of us hope and future. There are places in Afghanistan and Pakistan where young girls  have hope and a future due to what Mortenson and the Central Asia Institute have done. However, I do not have to journey to the other side of the earth to give that same kind of hope to young girls, and young boys. I have the ability to do that everyday in my role as principal, as I carry out the vision of making sure all of the students in our school get the best education possible. Thank you Greg Mortenson for reminding of my own calling.

No comments:

Post a Comment