Soul Wisdom

By Joyce Matthews

‘I was looking at a screen for fourteen hours a day and I realised I couldn’t remember the last time I saw a star. Our eyes aren’t meant to look at screens, we’re meant to look at the stars.’

This was the start of my drive to host the Street Wisdom event in Glasgow. Like a gift, this story had landed on my lap, or rather implanted itself in my brain as I listened to the car radio.

‘Exactly, and that’s what it’s all about.’ I spoke out loud to the emptiness.

The Street Wisdom event finished with a lightbulb. A moment on the way home, a shift in my thinking, one I’ve been waiting for.

‘Where do you have your breakthrough moments?’ is normally a warm up question. Today it was a cool down, a stretching off, a preparation for what’s to come. ‘Shift’ usually happens for me in the car, and today I felt it, more than just a change of gear. My conscious brain occupied with driving, my mind came out to play. Finally, a thought, an idea, a plan, a way to develop what I do, school leadership, without money or cost being the driver.  I’ll use a similar sharing technology format as Street Wisdom. A way to allow those teachers who want to learn leadership skills to do it for free – a way to practice while learning; Self Organised Learning (SOL) for school leader facilitators. How had I not seen this before? The method was staring me in the face. I just have to figure out how to do it, and I know that will come, and be the exciting part.

The middle of Street Wisdom Glasgow was an opportunity to look at the stars; the homeless man who shared his love of Kafka with me, familiar friends who came to support, sharing profound thoughts and causing new connections, travellers from across the world coming home or passing through, degrees of separation diminishing as we delved deeper, finding an oasis in the noise and bustle of the city, and paying it on to those who would come later.

It’s left me with this drive, not home or away, but forward, to release school leadership development from the shackles of organisations and ‘gurus’ making money while creating followers. To strip it back to what it means, to lead myself, to see where my idea will take me. To follow my star.

And today, on my journey to write this, another sign; a builder’s van with the U missing from his occupation. ‘All that’s missing is U.’ The voice in my head speaking out loud – S.O.L. leadership, all that’s missing is U. Build it.