In response to the post, The Great Ones Outwork Everyone Else,” the Marine faction of the LYS Nation writes:

“Don’t be shy about condemning the lazy, the Bible calls laziness and slothfulness sin.I don’t think adult hard work is looked at enough by leadership in education. I would rather have a teacher that showed up everyday and worked hard rather than a super talented slug with a bad attitude. In the Marine Corps, the Marines who work hard can be molded into a World Class fighting machine from pure willingness alone, regardless of talent. The lazy ones can not be fixed unless there is a serious change in mentality. For a Marine, getting shot at is a great attitude changer, what is the education equivalent?

In the Marine Corps the slothful are immediately weeded out in boot camp. So I ask you: “Where is the weeding out process for teachers and administrators? Why are they given so much time to flounder in a mediocre state and destroy the future of kids?”

Education is a war. It is a war against ignorance. In this war, we must define our core characteristics and laziness is not one of them”

SC Response
I have been speaking recently on the “Strata of Professional Craft. The four strata, as I identify them are:

1. Non-compliant

2. Novice

3. Technician

4. Artist

The discussion and concept is deep, but a critical component is “purposeful work.”

Purposeful work differs from just showing up or doing the time. It is the difference between having 20 years of one year of experience vs. 20 years of continuous learning. Many of us in the field ignore that difference. And we end up with too many experienced non-compliant’s and novices.

To cut to the chase, the educator who generally shows up and only makes adjustments that reduce that amount of energy they have to expend is the model “Non-compliant.”

The educator who works 8 to 5, does exactly what he is told to do and only uses district provided training to stay current with the craft is the model for the self-selected “Novice.”

The educator that works hard, makes a reasonable attempt to remain aware of changes in the field, uses the tools provided by the district, tries to make some changes to her craft, and pays attention to what students seem to better respond to, generally occupies the “Technician” strata.

The “Artist” obsesses on the craft (think Michael Jordan and Peyton Manning). She burns the mid-night oil, she reads, she actively participates in training, she purposefully tinkers with classroom set-up, instructional delivery and student management. But here is the kicker, she’s been doing this for a long time.

There are no short-cuts to becoming an artist. The minimum requirements for true artistry are staggering.

A. 10,000 hours a purposeful practice.

B. Laser like focus and commitment.

C. 100’s if not 1000’s of incremental adjustments based on both subjective and objective data.

The point being, and this is where we agree, as leaders we can not treat the Non-compliant, Novice, Technician and Artist the same. We must rapidly indentify the Non-compliants in our ranks and either remediate or remove them, post haste.

The Novice (rookie) we must indoctrinate, train and coach for the sole purpose of moving them to the ranks of technician as quickly as possible. For the Novice (self-selected), we must determine if it is a case of “can’t do or won’t do.” The “Can’t Do” is in the wrong field and we have a leadership duty to the employee, organization and most importantly the student to quickly and professionally address this. For the “Won’t Do” we either motivate or remove, with no need to apologize.

The Technician we continuously train, re-train, support, and coach. I believe that one way you measure your success as an instructional leader is how many technicians you build and how well you support your technicians. And since Artists come straight from the technician pool (remember the 10,000 hour rule), the greater number and greater quality of your technicians the better chance your campus has of developing a couple of Artists.

The Artist represents the ceiling of your organization’s potential. If we are only as strong as our weakest link (and you still tolerate the non-compliant?); we can only climb as high as our highest rung. When you have an artist in your midst, give her all the resources she needs, solicit her council, observe her more frequently than anybody else, and work as hard as you can to translate her magic into actionable practice for everyone else.

And always remember that the alpha and omega of this entire discussion is purposeful works, years of purposeful work.

Think. Work. Achieve.

Your turn…