Without a doubt, one of the best books that I ever read and completely bought into was Steven Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  

I like to think that it helped me become as organized and focused as I could with the end goal being success.

I stumbled into it by accident.  There isn’t anyone in business who hasn’t at least heard about Covey’s work.  Education, less so.  But as a Business Educator, it was part of the unit that was taught about management, leadership, and leadership styles.  Plus, if you had ever driven the 401 by Cambridge, you would have noticed their former building alongside.

The accident part?

I was having a discussion with a friend of mine who had just participated in one of the courses.   I liked everything that I heard and applied to take a course.  I think that everyone in education knows that there are some professional learning events that are always a “go” and others that aren’t because of “budget problems”.  I was in the latter.

But, there was a self-paced course that you could purchase from FranklinCovey.  I took it and found that it matched my needs immediately.  The planner that came with the course changed the way that I organized my life and learning.  Over the years, I’ve always purchased the refills and have upgraded that planner a couple of times.

Time and technology moves on.  I do things more electronically now that I have a device with me all the time.  I’ll be honest though; I don’t have the same amount of success and organization this way.  Perhaps there are just too many more distractions to there’s a desire to multi-task more than I would otherwise.

A former superintendent liked the way I had things organized and planned and he took the course.  A Filemaker Pro followist; he turned his learning into that format.  He said it worked for him; it didn’t work for me.  That’s OK – we don’t need to be apologetic that one particular approach doesn’t fit all.

Covey’s seven habits though, are as good today as they always were.

  • Be Proactive
  • Begin with the End in Mind
  • Put First Things First
  • Think Win-Win
  • Seek First to Understand; Then to Be Understood
  • Synergize
  • Sharpen the Saw

Covey’s work has spawned all kinds of others who would have you improve your life.  And, if that’s true, what a legacy!

Turn to education now.  Here’s an opportunity for your own legacy building.  What things happen in your classroom that are enduring and will live on long past your engagement with your students?

Do Covey’s seven habits make sense?  If so, there are lots of posters and Covey quotes available on the internet via a simple search.  Living in an age and with students who need video?  Check things out here.

1 thought on “Habits

  1. Doug, I’ve read Covey’s book a couple of times now, and I do really like a lot of his thinking. It makes a lot of sense to me. Our Board has run a “7 habits” course before, and with much positive feedback about it. I haven’t attended yet because the dates and times haven’t worked for me, but I may at some point. Like you, I think there are a lot of positive connections to education. As for a planner, I have had success with a paper one before, and still often make To Do lists on paper, but I tend to organize myself on a device. My lack of being able to every find a pen now makes the paper option less positive. 🙂

    It’s your question in your second last paragraph that is really making me think. The word “legacy” seems so huge, but I continue to think about what this legacy might be. I keep coming back to a conversation I had with my teaching partner after school yesterday. We were reflecting on student growth since September, and one thing that we noted is the growth in independence. Students can work and problem solve without adult assistance. They know how to support each other. They even figure out when to eat based on their own “internal need” versus a bell for nutrition break. I think it’s this independence that will serve them well in future year. It’s the ability to problem solve. It’s working collaboratively, and understanding what that means and the importance in all contributing to the work. It’s persevering (both inside the classroom and outside) when things are difficult. It’s trying new solutions, and continuing to make changes to these solutions until they meet with success (it’s probably “grit,” but I kind of hate that word 🙂 ). It’s knowing how to self-regulate and what makes them feel calm (from drawing a picture to reading a book to beading to doing something more active). It’s speaking up for what they need, and creating the space to make this happen. I continue to be amazed (in the best of ways) when students create space and activities based on their own interests and needs and when they chime in to explain their thinking. It is an ability to “think critically” that I think will also serve them well. When I listen to our students explain their thinking, I’m always amazed by what they share, how they share it, and the rationale behind their thinking. These are all skills that I hope will stay with them far past Kindergarten. So many of these skills are “learning skills” or learning skills-related, but it’s these kinds of skills that allow so many academics to happen (or allow for success in academics). What do you think? I’m curious to know how others would answer this question.


    P.S. As I look at the length of this comment, I think I almost wrote a blog post of my own. 🙂


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