professornana (professornana) wrote,

Purpose into profit

As I was preparing for a day of meetings, MSNBC played in the background of the hotel room. It was some sort of early morning show about managing small businesses, and the guest speaker talked abut turning purpose into profit. It was a turn of phrase I had not heard in the business community. After all, education is (or should be) far removed from business despite the attempt of some to apply business models insisting that schools would be so much better if they were run as businesses. Forget the fact that kids are not PRODUCTS, and that learning is not an assembly line where educators add components to inert objects as they move down a line. Schools are not about profit and loss. They are about KIDS.

And so it is time to turn attention to the PURPOSE, to our PURPOSE, to the PURPOSE of schools as part of the larger community. The dictionary shows these two definitions of purpose, one on its use as a noun and one on its use as a verb:


the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.
motive, motivation, grounds, cause, occasion, reason, point, basis, justification
a person's sense of resolve or determination.
a particular requirement or consideration, typically one that is temporary or restricted in scope or extent.

verb: purpose;
have as one's intention or objective.

I actually think the definition of the verb use of purpose speaks volumes as it includes the idea of "intention." What I do as I plan my classes is filled with intentions. Yes, I have curriculum to cover; there are tests that even grad students have to pass so that our program remains accredited (and the bar keeps rising). But a larger part of my PURPOSE and INTENTION is to ensure my students understand the role of books in lifelong readers, to ensure they understand that they are important models in the lives of readers, to ensure that they understand how to motivate and engage ALL readers.

So, as for profit, here is the bottom line: students must OWN THEIR READING. They must see themselves as readers; it must be part of their identity. As educators, we need to make that our bottom line.
Tags: profit, purpose

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