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news & tips

A collection of helpful articles on teachers and teaching

Listen

The passing of Steve Jobs has generated a slew of text, blogs, op/eds and commentaries regarding his legendary status. If there is one constant in all the rhetoric it is that Jobs was a unequivocal visionary. “True visionary, icon, genius, prominent visionary”, – all titles fitting a man who revolutionized the world of technology. Of course he had help- alot of it. But the truth remains that Job’s essence was his unwavering devotion to his vision of how he saw the world and the needs he chose to fill.

What it interesting is how the world recognizes its “visionaries.” Jobs was lucky – he was relegated to demigod status long before his passing. But, in reality, most visionaries struggle to be heard. Their message is hardly considered sacred or gospel as it was with Jobs. DaVinci, probably considered the greatest visionary of all time, feared retaliation from officials for his revolutionary and radical ideas. It took centuries for him to gain the status of “Renaissance Man.” While hardly a visionary, I have found myself on the receiving end of vilification from my administration and district for presenting radical ideas and refusing to accept the status quo as the only possible choice.

Entities that are most in need of vision listen least to the voices that represent new and innovative ways of operating- government, education, the military. What is it about reform that so scares people? Why is change resisted?

It wasn’t Steve Job’s products that elevated him to visionary icon. It was his vision for how to sell them to the world and make everyone want one. His magic lay not in design, but in delivery. When he spoke, the world listened. Perhaps what we should learn from Jobs is how to listen for the voices of the visionaries and how to embrace change instead of resisting it, and how to picture our world as it could be instead of only how it exists.

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