Friday, May 1, 2015

Duck on a Bike

This week, another teacher told me that I was the duck from David Shannon's book, Duck on a Bike. I had no idea what she meant - I'd never read the book before. She described the book, and I knew it was a compliment, but it felt mostly like it was just because I let things roll off my back.
The next day, she loaned me a copy of the book, and I read it to my students. I said, "Mrs. Holmes told me that this book reminded her of me. Let's see if we can find out why." As I read it, I was honored and flattered - it's about a duck decides to go for a bike ride (like I needed to tell you that, it's in the title...). As he rides around the barnyard, he's faced with the usual sorts of comments that you get when you do something differently. There are naysayers, some are jealous, and some think it's pretty cool. In the long run, when the opportunity comes, (SPOILER ALERT) all the farm animals are riding bikes around the barnyard, too. My kids totally got the connection! Our classroom has been a very different class this year, with alternative seating, a lot of student freedom, and a very differentiated program. And while I've heard way more positive than negative opinions about our class, I can definitely identify with Duck. Even more so, I felt so honored by my colleague making the comparison.

But what's the takeaway? I feel like I just wrote a long paragraph to toot my own horn. I guess it's that if you put yourself out there, like duck, and try something cool, don't be afraid. You're not the only one who wants to do the cool stuff! Be big hearted, full of sharing, and brave. As long as you are, as long as you're kind hearted, as long as you reflect honestly on your mistakes as well as your successes, you're doing the right thing. And when you've done it, you'll be Duck, too. Not all leadership is loud and pushy. The best rarely is. If you lead by doing the right thing, the best thing, the awesome thing, the best people will follow.

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