From Mediocrity to Excellence
The Need for Quality Work in School
What is great quality? Why do we see so little of it around us in our world? In school, at home, at work, poor quality surrounds us. At times, the concept of excellence seems foreign. In order to produce quality work, we must first know quality work. Where are our examples in life? In this age of instant gratification, we want to “get it done” quickly and move on to the next thing. Why do something well when we can get by with “good enough”? This mentality is transferred to our kids in their work environment. School curriculum also encourages us to move hastily through a laundry list of objectives and content in a relatively short period of time. Nothing of depth that is worthwhile and meaningful is achieved with this way of thinking. Teaching with quality, learning about quality and living with quality can only come from being immersed in a culture of expectations that guide us toward excellence. The true reward comes from knowing what it feels like to work through a difficult task or assignment and present a quality product that is well received, appreciated and respected by others.
Our set designers inspired a lesson on quality work as they were discussing set elements for our opera and how best to create them. They made two cubes, one of poor quality and one of great quality. Our volunteers then asked, “Which cube would you like to represent the work we are doing?” Not one selected the scrunched up, poorly constructed, lopsided cube. They were clear about which they wanted to represent them.
Now, we transfer this understanding to our daily work in the classroom.
What IS quality work?