By: Mary Beth Rogers, ED.S, CFO, Executive Director of Business Services, Clarkston Community Schools
In September, I attended the Special Populations Conference in Lansing. If you have never gone, I would highly recommend it. One of the keynote speakers, who founded “The Wild Institute,” message was something that all of us should hear and try to incorporate into our lives: “Because the world needs a lot more Wild” and “Wild: having the courage to bring the gift of all of who you are to all of what you do.” We all need to be Wild sometimes. This is what I found when I googled the definition of Wild:
- Emotionally overcome
- Passionately eager or enthusiastic
- Going beyond normal or conventional bounds
- Indicative of strong passion, desire, or emotion
- A wild, free, or natural state of existence
- Without regulation or control
- Off an intended or expected course
Also, Synonyms for Wild include words such as eager, enthused, enthusiastic, excited, great, keen, thirsty, pumped, raring, hungry, and open. Whereas, Antonyms for Wild include words like apathetic, indifferent, uneager and unenthusiastic. Why wouldn’t we want to bring more Wild into our offices, schools, and departments? Education should be more Wild. I would rather be enthused than apathetic.
The presenter’s message was all about daring teams to think Wildly and work differently together. We are at a time in education and financing education where I believe that we need to be Wild – think a little different. We need to think outside the box. The finance research study has brought to light that our funding system is not working. However, not a big surprise to us all that are directly involved in school finance. Now the challenge is what we do with this data. I am not claiming to have the answers but I do know that we can’t stay the same course and continue to be conventional. We need to come up with innovative, original ideas or be a little Wild to move our education system forward. Find ways as groups to be different together, to pull on everyone’s strengths, bring out our originality and I believe then some of our best work will come forward.
The financing of education could stand to be Wild but it feels like education in general is getting stagnate. Society is changing. Youth are different from the times of our younger years, technology is advancing, youth are exposed to so much more and they know so much more but education isn’t adjusting along with these changes. In the classroom we get stuck with the ideas of assessments, meeting mandates and the creativity can get lost. Let’s bring some Wild back into the classroom. Get the students passionate, eager, engaged, enthusiastic, excited, keen, pumped or Wild about learning. To start we should get the teachers Wild about teaching. If the adults are Wild then it becomes contagious. Let the teachers be more creative in their classrooms. Let the teachers bring in their originality into the classroom and encourage the students to be creative and original. Bring more connections from the real world into our classrooms. Make connectivity and interdependence the catalyst for all learning. Have students design their own quality criteria and develop frameworks to help them understand. And best of all make classrooms places students want to be.
In the end the message received by the presenter was to be Wildly Present, Wildly Original and Wildly Welcome. Just imagined our work places or our classrooms, if we as adults came in wildly present, wildly original and wildly welcome. Wildly Present is having the courage to bring the gift of all of who you are to all of what you do. That means showing up whole, creative, free, engaged, connected and bold. Second, be Wildly Original. Living your own wild story. And then be Wildly Welcome. Embrace other’s wildness. As leaders of education let’s try being wildly present, wildly original and wildly welcome.
Let’s be eager. Let’s be enthusiastic. Let’s be pumped. Let’s be excited. Let’s be raring. Let’s be great. Let’s be Wild!