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.
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.
It feels good to be ridiculously in charge of ourselves and our impact. Perhaps if more people made a small step toward that kind of self-awareness and ownership, the world would change.
As the fellowship took shape, each teacher brought assets of their own that they knew could work, but also a willingness to learn that came from not seeing their approach as “the” answer. In the words of improv comedy, they came with bricks rather than a cathedral. This kind of openness to inclusion would be key to ideation and innovation. The smartest person in the room may be the room, but only when everyone who should be is in the room.
n The Culture Playbook, Coyle talks about how difficult it can be for people to give feedback and even the question, "How can I support you?" can be challenging for people to answer. This is particularly true if the person asking holds a position of authority. He suggests asking three more specific questions that open the door to meaningful feedback and dialogue.
There are no perfect people, so let's stop pretending to have it all together. More authenticity and honest conversations are needed in schools. Artificial harmony is not going to take us where we need to go.
Instead of blaming teachers, let's do the hard work of examining ourselves as leaders. Examine our practices. Examine our systems. And work with educators, students, and our community to build better systems. Our kids deserve it.