I had the pleasure of returning to my old stomping ground, the Ron Clark Academy, this past week to help with the National Educators' Conference. Almost 500 educators from around the world came together to take part in the magic, excitement, and experience that is RCA.
When you're in a place working each day, sometimes you miss the obvious. There are things right underneath your nose that you take for granted. Now that I have been away from RCA for a year, I am able to look at things from a different perspective. I realized something this past weekend that I had said for a long time, but it made much more sense now.
Ron and Kim, co-founders of RCA, oftentimes call the staff the hardest working staff in the country. The long hours and the many extra events could qualify the staff to be hard working, but I saw this weekend that it is more than just the hours. I realized that being the "hardest working staff" means that every job is everyone's job at that school.
On Friday night, after a full day of setting up for the arrival of the guests, and dancing for three hours to a hype band, 235 chairs had to be set up in preparation for Saturday's performance of the RCA musical. Where some individuals would have said "that's a job for someone else," the RCA staff jumped to work without a single person instructing to do so.
On Saturday morning, breakfast needed to be set up for two waves of guests, about 250 a piece, with Einstein Bagels breakfast boxes. Thanks to the help of the amazing RCA parents, it was set up beautifully. After guests were done eating, there was a ton of trash. Once again, while the "it's someone else's job" may have been used at some places, the RCA staff stood by garbage cans (in their suits) and broke apart boxes, emptied trash cans, and brought trash to the dumpster. This is all just minutes before many had to give workshop presentations.
On Saturday evening, as guests were to return to their hotels, there was a bus issue and we had about 50 guests needing to get back to the hotel. Instead of making them wait any longer, every RCA staff member grabbed their car and drove them Downtown to the hotel. Here are some guests driving with Ms. Bearden.
Mr. Clark has a new book coming out called Move Your Bus, and in it he talks about the various types of people that work in your school, business, or profession. He calls the individuals who are ready to help, be pro-active, and lead "the runners." I considered RCA staff members "runners" for a long time because of the long hours worked or creative lessons planned, but I realized this weekend it was much more than that. Being a runner, or calling yourself "the hardest working staff" also means doing things that are not "your job." It means jumping into action when action is called for. It means not complaining when things aren't perfect, but taking action to fix it.