This past month, I was privileged to be able to attend the National Educators’ Conference at the Ron Clark Academy (RCA). If you have never visited RCA, I strongly urge you to go…and soon! To be in the presence of such amazing educators, leaders, Runners (I’ll explain in a minute), and (most importantly) students, was absolutely a life-changing experience. It was there that I learned that Ron Clark had a new book coming out titled Move Your Bus. Now, I was familiar with his bus analogy because he actually came to our district at the beginning of last year and was the speaker for our convocation. What he had to say literally left me more on fire as an educator than I have ever been before!
The bus represents your organization (whether it be a school, business, or your personal life). On that bus, you have different people. You have 5 types of people on your bus. Runners, who consistently go above and beyond what is required. Joggers, who do their jobs well without pushing themselves. Walkers, who are just getting pulled along. Riders, who pick up their feet and slow down the whole enterprise. And, of course you have the Drivers, who are trying to steer the entire organization. Ron Clark says, a lot of Walkers think that they are Runners. They think that they are doing all that they can do, because they may not know that it could look different. That they could actually be better. Wow! Ron Clark talks in his book about a time, when he was seventeen, and he was a waiter. He thought he was a Runner, until he started working at another restaurant and he observed a server who was engaging, looking at customers in the eye while taking their order, joking with them, and basically doing a better job than he was. He began to emulate her behavior, and his tips improved and he got better at connecting with the customers. He realized that he was actually a Walker as a waiter, but he didn’t realize it because he didn’t see a better way of doing it! Sometimes Walkers, as Ron Clark mentions in his book, didn’t have a role model of a Runner in their lives to model what that should look like. Sometimes they just don’t know what they don’t know. They have to be shown/told. Explicitly. He says, “…you have to be communicate the expectation very specifically and then find ways to uplift people and let them shine. (p. xx)”
Move Your Bus came out this past Tuesday and I immediately bought it, sat down and read it from cover-to-cover. I was so excited about Every. Single. Word. I couldn’t contain my excitement, so I sat there and Tweeted quote-after-quote that stood out to me! Which was basically every other sentence! (Sorry to those Tweeters, if I annoyed you! :)) But, seriously. It is that good!
Here are just a few takeaways that really resonated with me:
*Treating everyone fairly isn’t treating everyone equally.
*If you don’t have a strong work ethic, then you are slowing down the bus.
*Getting a team of Runners to run long and hard with passion and energy is what moves the bus.
*As an administrator, there is nothing you can do that is more detrimental to the organization than kill the spirit of your Runners.
*If you aren’t quite running at your job, then the last thing you want to do is get in the way of those who are.
*Sometimes it’s great to ask for direction, for help, or for clarity. It’s not seen as a weakness. Instead, it makes it clear that you care enough about a project or task to be sure you get it right.
*In order to start running, the place to do it isn’t in the idea department; it’s in the hard work department.
*Credibility might be the single most desirable trait you can cultivate in yourself, because it encompasses so much.
* Give Runners the visibility they deserve and help those who are jealous and seek to marginalize Runners contributions to get over it!
I am going to stop there, because I want to you to go buy the book, read it, and RUN!!!!!!!
After you have read Move Your Bus, I would LOVE to hear from you! Let me know your thoughts and what your takeaways were after reading it. To order your autographed copy, go here. To hear Ron Clark speak about Move Your Bus, click here.
Thank you, Ron Clark, for being an amazing model of an exceptional Runner in education and as a businessman. Since attending the National Educators’ Conference at RCA, I have set my dreams and visions in motion. I wrote a grant for $2,500 to a local business to help fund a special Red Carpet Event for our students, parents, and community. This will include hanging 60+ posters/pictures of our students all around the building. I have contacted the manager at a local bookstore who is donating gift baskets, books, candles, etc., as teacher giveaways (for our Runners/Joggers). I have met with community leaders to discuss partnerships with our school. I am setting the wheels in motion to begin the House system on our campus. And, the list goes on and on. I am so excited for what this year has in store! I am truly grateful for the motivation and inspiration that you have provided to me and thousands of educators and business leaders. Thank you.