The experienced beginner


In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.
Shunryu Suzuki

I enjoy change. I like the feeling of starting something new, of starting a journey that has no defined destination. I like the feeling of “new”. When I was a classroom teacher, I had this feeling at least once a year, getting ready to start a new class each September, and often during the year as each term got started. It was a chance to start fresh, to correct the missteps of the past and take new risks and chances. This led me to new experiences within teaching, such as being a “beginner” in a new school, new province or even another country. Even as I gained experience, I saw each change as the chance to be a beginner and learn fresh once more. The same thing happened when I became a teacher-mentor, a vice-principal, and a principal. Experience led me to new beginnings.

I am getting ready for my next beginning. After three years as a “beginner” principal I am moving to a new school in September. I am energized by the opportunity to start my growth again, learning new skills, building new relationships, trying new things alongside new people. As I did with each previous change, I am going to take the time to reflect on my experience. It’s what has led me to this new place. I am going to open my mind to being a beginner, to find out what I do not know and set myself on the path to learning.

(One) ceases to be a beginner in any given science and becomes a master in that science when he has learned that he is going to be a beginner all his life.

Robin G. Collingwood