So, this week my challenge for all of us is to first: cut ourselves some slack. A lot gets thrown our way and often it comes from people with positional authority. Then, let's ask ourselves, "Where can we be more intentional about giving our full attention to others this week?" In doing so, let's pay attention to how that makes us feel. How it makes the work feel. How it makes others feel.
As that young man so aptly stated, people want to be a part of something important. So, how can we foster that same sense of interdependence and interconnectedness in school? How might we create more opportunities for people to work hard in areas that amplify their strengths? What would happen if students were inspired to work hard at something they love during the school day?
Even if the world became 1% more kind in the next year, I think that would make a big difference in how we all feel in our day-to-day lives.
Perhaps this school year, we need less rushing around and planning. Instead, we need a loose direction, space for the work, and frequent opportunities for connection. Above all else, perhaps all we need is the most self-aware version of ourselves and others.
So, the next time you feel really happy in your work, pay attention. Pay attention to who you are with and how you're going about the work. Somewhere in the middle of all of that is your joy. Your joy is your gift to our profession and now more than ever, we need people walking in their light and their goodness.
Being around and lending a helping hand can do a lot for a school and school district. Proximity builds trust. So, we must make space for proximity and make space for staff to be around each other too - in a relaxed way. Don't be filling that time with to-do lists and boxes to fill out all the time. Sure, sometimes we have to do what we have to do, but we tend to overdo it. Make space for meaningful connection and discourse. What we water grows. Water connection. Start with proximity.
This decision and delaying the project design workshops were important in letting the fire burn slowly for a while before adding another log. When we’re rushing around in education to get a charge out of being busy, as Meghan put it, we tend to throw logs and all sorts of combustibles onto other people’s fires, fires they might have been perfectly comfortable to let get low enough that everyone felt safe around them. If you’ve sat around a campfire this summer, you know putting another log on the fire is often a group decision, not one for one person alone.
The most important work is the work we do on ourselves. Everything else is secondary. Let's put ourselves in the best position possible to show up with our whole hearts this school year and love ourselves through the times when don't then try again. Our schools need more humanity. This may be one of our best first steps.
So, whatever role you're in this school year, people need less attempts at perfection in our schools. People need more humanity. I think our school year would change if we were able to make that connection for ourselves and alongside others.