At the beginning of the school year, Jill Scheulen, Principal of Crestview Middle School in the St. Louis area, issued a Greater Than Yourself (GTY) challenge to her faculty by encouraging them to take on GTY Projects of their own.
It wasn’t a mandate, and there were no requirements as to who’d qualify. In other words, they didn’t have to do it, but if they did, they could take on a student, another teacher, a parent in the community–anyone, really.
Those that did take Jill up on the challenge got together every month or so to compare notes, share stories and experiences, and help each other to become better at helping their GTY’s.
That’s right: They helped each other to be greater at helping others to be greater than themselves.
Some teachers chose not to officially tell their student GTY’s that they’d been “taken on,” so to speak. Sometimes a guerilla approach is more appropriate in a classroom situation.
On the other hand, the One Condition of GTY is “I’ll do this for you and you have to commit to doing this for someone else,” a commitment you can’t ask for unless the whole process is overt.
So, in that spirit, here, according to Principal Scheulen, is what happened when these students were invited to the end-of-the-year gathering of the GTY faculty group:
“Up until this point in the year, only two students in the group actually knew that they were someone’s GTY,” but we all came together today to tell our GTY projects that they were truly our GTY. We shared many laughs–and even some tears–within the diverse group when we talked with them about LEAP and about changing the world. All in all, it was absolutely amazing to see these students want to hear more about how they could now go out and look for their own GTY projects–and help change the world for the better.”
It makes me wonder: If eighth-graders routinely took on sixth-graders as their GTY Projects, how would the experience of going to school during those ultra-challenging developmental years be different for those kids? How would it have been different for me when I was that age?
The word, “significantly,” comes to mind.
And it makes me imagine how different the world of work will be when these kids grow up and enter the job market–bringing their (by then) life-long GTY experience with them.
These teachers and students at Crestview are the pioneers of that GTY Future, and I think we should all stand up right now and give them a round of thunderous applause: