Unfamiliar territory? Consult the compass

When traveling in unfamiliar territory, explorers frequently consult their compasses to ensure they have not lost their way or are not headed in a direction away from their destination.

The value of a compass is that it defines one direction—north. All other directions can be determined and selected or rejected based on this knowledge. Explores map out their plans and directions, but change due to external conditions.

As educators, we also need to consult our professional compass. Rather than showing north, our compass needs to point directly at helping students learn. External and internal conditions place changes on directions, but we must always consult before proceeding.

Every issue, every decision, and expenditure of an organizational resource—human or financial—must be judged on its consistency with the point of our compass.

If we are clear and consistent in our pursuit and support of student learning, we can monitor our direction and adjust our course with relative ease. Like explorers, we need to consult our compass and change our course accordingly frequently.

However, our compass is not something we can carry in our pockets. We must keep it in our hearts and mind. Our love for “what” we do always explains our “why.” The destination we desire is not for one traveler, but all, and some arrive at different times along the journey.

As the ships are preparing and the travelers arrive, let us not forget the importance of the compass in helping us to maintain the direction forward to success. It does not matter the length of the journey, only the quality and the arrival to the destination.

Action Steps

  • Prepare for travelers
  • Organize materials
  • Establish goals
  • Understand directional path
  • Identify resources for support
  • Make modifications
  • Monitor progress
  • Evaluate
  • Celebrate

Along the journey, it is all-important to monitor, evaluate, modify, support and celebrate (even small wins) along the way to the final destination.

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths….”         Walt Disney


Published by Brenda Yoho

Christian,Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Aspiring Author, Motivator, Survivor, Leader, Coach, Mentor and a service agent living a life of purpose. Started my career in education as a teaching assistant, moved into the teaching role, followed by administration serving as Assistant Principal, Principal and Director of Educational Support Programs. Over my more than two decades of educational experience I have served as the Illinois Principals Association Illini Region Director and most recently as a mentor/coach for principals. In addition, I have presented at their conferences over the years. In my final years in administration I served also as the Illinois Association of Title Directors Vice President and Treasurer. I am a survivor of an indirect hit of lightning and an almost fatal accident with a semi truck that hit the car I was traveling in with my family. My daughter, granddaughter and close friend survived as well! My injuries were the most significant leaving lifelong damages.

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