Are We There Yet?

By Tom Stoner, IPLI Cohort 7 Mentor and Principal at Kouts MS/HS

A while back, my wife and I went on a camping trip for a few days. We decided it would be great to take our 3 1/2-year-old granddaughter with us since we had not had her stay with us yet this summer. We brought her back to our house on Sunday (a 2.5-hour trip), hooked up to the camper, and then went to the campground (another 1.5-hour trip), all in the same day. She did great traveling. A few times along the way, she asked that question we all long to hear while driving on a trip – “Are We There Yet?” We gave the same answer we gave our children, and that most of you probably give/gave to your children – “almost.” Each time she asked, we told her “almost.”  I am glad she did not reply with “that is what you said the last time.”

That day I started thinking about that question and education. Are we “there” yet?  Where is “there?”  Will we ever get “there?”  What will we do if we do get “there?”  How will we know if/when we get “there?”  I think as educators, we need to remember those questions. I think about all the things I would like to see our teachers and students accomplish over the new school year or the years to come and hope they ask the question, “Am I ‘there’ yet?”

I know as a teacher I never reached “there.”  I feel as though I could have done such a better job if I knew then what I know now. I feel bad for the students I had. I don’t feel they were able to get all I could have done with/for them.

As a principal, I have definitely not arrived “there” yet. A small part of me says I hope I never get “there.”  I hope I am always on this journey of continuing to learn new things and progress as an administrator. I believe if we continue to evolve in our educational practices and continue to do what is best for our students, we will not get “there.”

What about you? Are you there yet? Feel free to let me know your thoughts.

Tom Stoner