Sure, Apple Changes the World-So Do You

Welcome to apple letter1 300x300

 Want to work for Apple? Here’s the letter you’ll get on your first day:

There’s work and there’s your life’s work.

The kind of work that has your fingerprints all over it. The kind of work that you’d never compromise on. That you’d sacrifice a weekend for. You can do that kind of work at Apple. People don’t come here to play it safe. They come here to swim in the deep end. 

They want their work to add up to something.

Something big. Something that couldn’t happen anywhere else.

Welcome to Apple.

As an school administrator I immediately draw a comparison to our “company”. I’m also struck by the sentence fragments in the letter, but aside from that…

There’s work and there’s your life’s work. 

Many years ago as a young teacher, I was part of a team that took a group of 8th grade future leaders from Deerfield, NH to the Nashua Corporation factory in Albany, New York that manufactured duct tape. Our Principal at the time was interested in the work of Williams Edwards Deming who made a significant international contribution to improving product quality and was particularly influential in Japan in the second half of the 1900s.

This company utilized many of Deming’s beliefs. I was impressed by the interaction of the administrators and the workers on the floor. There was a genuine respect between the two levels as the managers understood how skilled and knowledgeable the workers were who ran the machines. The managers never wore ties so as to not create a greater separation between employees and often changed roles so that they knew the different components of the company.

At one point I commented to one of the managers that I would enjoy becoming an administrator in a business such as his. Despite the positive culture at Nashua Corporation and the success that this company exhibited, the manager fervently stated (and I paraphrase after more than 20 years):

We’re making duct tape and you’re molding young minds…you would really trade careers?

There are jobs that help provide for your family; then there are careers that provide but also help change the world. That’s what we do in schools.

That you’d sacrifice a weekend for. 

I average at least five hours of work a weekend during the school year and I bet many of my teachers do as well. Between classroom visits and meetings during school as well as committees after school, paperwork simply does not get done during the 40 hour work week. Good educators are hard working types. 

People don’t come here to play it safe. They come here to swim in the deep end.

My staff is not content to continue the status quo and for that I am thankful. I have teachers who will be learning how to integrate iPads in their classroom for the first time this year. One of my veteran teachers is leaving the classroom to chase her dream and take on our first elementary Numeracy Specialist position. Still another is working with me to develop our first Full Day Kindergarten program. All are taking measured risks knowing that they are supported by the school district. Nonetheless, to make a difference with kids, staying still is not an option.

I have been a Apple user since 1984. I use a MacBook Pro, iPad, and iPhone daily. I’m currently reading Walter Issacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. I am willing to pay a bit more for a product that is clearly superior. I am admittedly a Mac Fanboy.

Yet, Apple…don’t think for a minute that we educators don’t also swim in the deep end.

Love to get your comments…

2 comments Add yours
  1. Terrific post, Bill, and really honoring teachers who “swim in the deep end” (as well as all those Macs!). When I visit the Apple store at the Nashua mall, I think of how that staff’s outreach to everyone who walks through the door — and the exciting buzz about learning — is an appealing model for schools. P.S. When will your blogs be turned into a book, a la Will Richardson? Would be wonderful.

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