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My 1 sentence mission statement—first draft

August 2, 2011

As part of a faculty cohort I’m participating in this year on learning and the brain, I’m required to craft a 1 sentence mission statement and put it on a slide with a single photo background. These exercises tend to frustrate me, so I’m starting a bit early and putting out a first draft, hoping to get some feedback.

In case the slides aren’t clear, the mission statement reads:

I guide my students to discover the deep beauty of the physical world around them, and push them to use this discovery to make a positive change to it—starting now.

View this document on Scribd

I’d appreciate any feedback on either the wording of the mission statement, or the particular photos—I’d love a better source of some CC-licensed science-y photos.

Also, what’s your one sentence mission statement?

9 Comments leave one →
  1. August 3, 2011 7:28 am

    I like the second photo better, but the text is more legible on the first.

    You’re missing the word “to” between them and use.

    I like your sentence. I think mine would be something about helping students develop powerful tools that give them a new way to describe, explain, and predict their world.

  2. August 3, 2011 11:42 am


    I guide my students to discover the deep beauty of the physical world around them, and push them to use this discovery to make positive change in it, starting now.

    Shorter is more memorable:

    I guide discovery and motivate responsible care of our mysteriously beautiful physical world.

    • August 5, 2011 11:38 pm

      I like your mission statement. But, I think you only get 6 words, or did I invent that? maybe I did. Either way, maybe the long version is your personal version – the thing that hangs on your mirror that you face daily, but the short one is the “public” one. easy to read, easy to process, but sets the stage for deep conversation and thought. I especially respond to the fact that, as a teacher, you are taking on the role, not only of teaching your students the FACTS of physics, but also imparting lessons about sense of self, sense of community, and responsibility. Empowering young people is so important. I think teachers cannot be “boxed in” to their classROOMs, their textbooks, and the test questions on the SAT, ACT… we need to prepare our students to live in and take care of their world. I am really inspired that your mission statement expresses that. Cool.

  3. August 5, 2011 9:41 am

    I’m with Jamie. Technically your first draft is three sentences (if you define a sentence as a nominative clause and a subjunctive clause – even if one or the other is understood).


    My mission statement: I get people to stop saying bad things about math.

    • August 5, 2011 11:38 pm

      I agree. I like your revisions. I think there are two different things I strive to do for my students

      1. I want them to see a deeper layer of beauty in the world around them.
      2. I want to help them use this discovery to empower themselves to make a postive change in the world, right now, rather than wait for when they are older/wiser/have learned calculus
  4. August 5, 2011 9:41 pm

    John, I suspect that when you choose the phrase “physical beauty” you mean the cool underlying physical laws and structure. I get a sense of that from the photo – the rainbow hints at it. But most will see a purdy picture and leave the meaning there. I wonder if you could edit a photo to layer on some deeper quantum or physical ripple that goes beyond a hint. Just spitballing now – e.g. did you know that rainbows are also seen in atomic scattering? There are some really cool drawings done that interpret experimental data – is there a way to overlay that onto the photo? That’s just something off the top of my head but I wonder if you could communicate your deeper meaning by taking a viewer from the macro to the micro in some way.
    On the other hand, it’s just a mission statement.

    • August 5, 2011 10:16 pm

      oooh, I really like this idea. You’re out to keep me from writing up all the lessons plans I need to do, aren’t you?

  5. August 5, 2011 11:24 pm

    What I want to know is how to get on staff at a school studying learning and the brain!!! I want to work with you guys!!! Have you seen: Mind, Brain, and Education edited by David A. Sousa? It’s available from Amazon at It’s a great read and definitely food for thought.

    • August 5, 2011 11:33 pm

      Susan, excuse the interloping here (is that how you spell interlope-ing?)… We are actually using some of the Sousa books in the class. And, odds are high we’ll have some public representation of the work we do, so stay tuned! One of my favorite parts of being a teacher is the sharing that we all do with one another to help ourselves improve every single day (and to help one another stay motivated on the harder days). Anna

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