Ambition and Education

I had an interesting conversation recently with a friend who is a teacher. It started with her saying that the difference between us is that I am ambitious and she is not. My response was that it is impossible to be in education and without being ambitious – or rather it should be impossible.

She had of course linked the concept of ambition exclusively to the practice of seeking a promoted post in a school – ambition as the desire for personal power and status rather than as the desire to make a difference.

I know for a fact that she wants the children in her class to be successful and for her school to thrive – in many ways she is an exemplar of the ambitious teacher, she just doesn’t want anything to do with what she sees as the hassles of being a school manager. [There is a major problem for the education system if the best teachers associate the role of promoted staff with bureaucracy and fire fighting rather than leading learning. A topic for another post?]

Anyway we agreed that we are both ambitious for children and young people. The only real difference was where we had decided we could make the biggest difference and contribute the most to achieving success. She has decided that working directly with learners is where she can make the biggest impact. My role is to make sure she gets the best possible advice, support and resources that LTS can provide.

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