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MY’s Purpose – We Grow Success

(This is the second post in this series on Purpose and Principles.  You can find the first post here.)


About a year ago I read the book The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz.  It was first published in 1959, so the language is very male centered and parts of it feel dated, but an amazing amount still feels extremely relevant.  One section is a story about three bricklayers:


“When asked, ‘What are you doing?’ the first bricklayer replied, ‘Laying brick.’  The second answered, ‘Making $9.30 an hour.’  And the third said, ‘Me?  I’m building the world’s greatest cathedral.’


Maki and I first took over MY English School back in 2008 because we were dissatisfied with the English education we thought we could provide at other schools, including the junior high and high schools where she and I were teaching at the time as well as other language schools.  We didn’t feel like students would be as successful as they could be in those situations.  We wanted to create a place where our students, teachers, and staff would be successful.  When developing a purpose statement for our school, our team chose “We grow Success!”


Why is a purpose important?  According to Disney, it gives us a reason for being that should last at least 100 years.  It is a driving force that continuously stimulates change and progress because it can never be fulfilled, “like a guiding star on the horizon—forever pursued but never reached” (  Thus arose Disney’s purpose to “create happiness for others.”  Everything they do centers around that purpose.  That is the reason they exist.


What does growing success mean for MY English School?


For our Students

For our students, growing success means planting the seeds for their success in English education.  We want them to have high test scores, but also be effective users of English even after they leave MY.  It means teaching them to guess and make inferences, unafraid of mistakes and the times when they will not be completely certain about the meaning of what they heard or read.  It means helping them learn to deal with confusion positively.


For our Teachers

For teachers, growing success means not only giving strong training and the freedom to experiment, but also opportunities to grow through membership in development teams and professional organizations, such as JALT.  It means providing a fund they can use to attend professional events as well as days off of teaching they can use for projects they choose and apply for.  It means those who stay become better teachers, but also that those who leave are better because of their time at MY.  For example, seven of our former teachers have moved on to full-time university positions while an additional five obtained experience teaching university lessons.


For our School

For us as a school, growing success means growing beyond just the one school in Higashine, Yamagata at which we started and using the resources we develop to better serve our students and teachers.  It means new projects that help others be successful, such as starting MY Learning and collaborating with Language Teaching Professionals in supporting Independent Publishers, helping grow the reach and influence of them and their materials.  It also means growing our financial stability.


I don’t know what the future holds for us.  Whatever we are doing, I know that we will be working to grow success for both ourselves and others.



Books/Articles I’m reading:

Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive, Book 2) by Brandon Sanderson –

(I usually roughly alternate between fiction and non-fiction, but I’ve gotten sucked in by this long and interesting series, so have fallen behind on my non-fiction reading.)

Ryan Hagglund
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