Take the time to sharpen your blade
Posted September 11, 2012on:
I am retelling a short story that our Dean told at an exco meeting last Friday. The example is old-school, but the principle is timeless.
A man spotted two lumberjacks trying to cut a tree down with a saw. He noticed that they were putting a lot of effort into the task, but they were getting nowhere.
He also noticed that the blade was not sharp. The man pointed that out to the lumberjacks and suggested that they stop for a while to sharpen the blade.
The lumberjacks replied, “No, we cannot stop. We are too busy! We have to keep going with our job!”
What is the moral of the story? There is more than one.
One takeaway might be: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Better to be prepared than to simply react.
Another is that it is wiser to stop, reflect, and modify one’s practice instead of doing things the same old and ineffective way.
But those morals deal with the method or strategy. There are also newer tools that are more efficient and effective.
In the context of the story, each lumberjack could have used a chainsaw. The chainsaw is more efficient and powerful and it leads to more productive work.
But in addition to learning a new strategy, the lumberjacks would have to learn how to use a new tool.
Educators must stop, reflect, and learn how to use new tools and strategies.
If they stop long enough, teachers and lumberjacks might also wonder if their jobs are still relevant. Only then can they find ways to stay relevant.