Are we willing to learn in front of those we serve?

Many years ago (many, many), I was a finalist for a “Director General” position (Superintendent equivalent) at an English-language school district in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

As I went through the process, I became one of the finalists and was excited about the opportunity. Montreal is a beautiful city and I was familiar with the school district, so it seemed like it could be a great fit.

In the final interview, a concern was shared that, although it was an English language school district, French was the predominant language in the province, and the expectation was that the successful candidate was able to speak fluent French, which I wasn’t able to do.

That was probably something that should have been shared at the beginning of the process.




What could have been seen as an obstacle, I saw as an opportunity. In response, I shared that I would definitely be willing to learn the language and do it openly via YouTube. My reasoning for why that was important was that in the role, my hope was that others would learn, and if I could show that I was willing to learn new things myself, it would give me a certain credibility with the new staff.

To be honest, I thought it was an incredible answer.

They didn’t.

So, no job.

Chacun à son goût!

I thought about all of this as I am currently learning to play piano at the age of 49 years old. There are two reasons why I am learning:


  1. I have always wanted to play!
  2. My daughter Kallea wants to learn as well. 

That’s enough for me!

So, every morning I have been home since Christmas day of 2023, I have spent 15 minutes minimum, playing and practicing. I do this quietly before Kallea wakes up, but she often hears me and comes down to play what I am playing.  My focus is learning songs that both she and I enjoy, but just a bit ahead of her.

And what has that inspired? Her own interest in playing.

In fact, no matter what I learn ahead of her, she seems to figure it out and get a little bit better than me. And I couldn’t be more proud.

When we learn by example, we better lead others to learn on their own.

Sometimes, not knowing something can benefit us if we are willing to model our own growth through the process.



2 thoughts on “Are we willing to learn in front of those we serve?”

  1. c3b8dcf423d81d652ad494da67de22a7?s=50&d=mm&r=g
    Carlos A. Contreras

    Good afternoon, Mr. Couros,

    My name is Carlos A. Contreras. I have seen you speak twice, the first time at Austin for a TASA conference back in 2020, and the second time was last March for the Thompson Leadership Academy in Austin as well. You will be here in El Paso in June, and our micro school district, Dell City ISD, will send five ladies who take on different roles and are the glue for the district. I share your books, newsletters, and words of wisdom with them. I hope you remember them as you create magic with the El Paso crowd. Dell City is a little over an hour east of El Paso and has a population of 220.

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