Yes and no

Letter to EMIS students (February 2019)


Dear staff and students,

In the principals' course I took last year we were introduced to a theory which claims that the state of the school is a reflection of the mental state of its principal. While I disagree with this view and see it as an exaggeration, I do think that schools are influenced, to some extent, by personal characteristics of their principals. In my case, to be honest, it would be fair to say it is my personal hyperactivity that influences the school.


I want to use this opportunity to share with you that this hyperactivity isn't just a result of a personal trait, it is also an approach.


Along the years I have learned that the strongest power against change and creativity is not an external power, but rather an inner one. It is our tendency to say no to our own ideas. Our cautiousness and self-doubt enhance an almost automatic, even pavlovian, response to say no to ourselves and by that kill our initial ideas and wishes. Afterwards we move on to killing the ideas of others. As I grew up I tried to teach myself to do the opposite and say yes to my ideas, always to start with a yes. It isn't an easy practice, but it is a powerful one. It has enriched my life with a constant flow of ideas, many of which I managed to make into a reality. As an educator, I wish to promote this practice and create an atmosphere of creativity and confidence where new ideas and initiatives can flourish. And they did.


Now we are clearly at a stage of hyperactivity, rich with initiatives, projects and special events. A culture of yes is a blessing on the personal level as well as on the community level. But, at the same time, as a school which aims also to promote balance, we need to make sure we don't overdo it. Since, as our smart counsellor, Maya G, recently said: sometimes less is more…


Hence, I want to suggest that we will all (including myself) stop for a period and practice saying no. Let us take March as a month to develop what we already do, to go deep instead of spreading wide. In a few days I am about to release the CARDO schedule for March and I aim to keep it as calm as possible. That will require us all to hold ourselves back for a while. Still, if you have something very dear to your heart, or a thing in progress, that you would like to add to next month's schedule, please approach me directly and we will think about it together.


I wish we will all experience a more relaxed March (and of course, much luck to our senior class with their mocks).


My we find the healthy balance between yes and no.

Yours,

Gili