We didn't exactly know what we were doing, but as Tim remarked later in the process and Meghan would remind him as the cohort wrapped up, "Perhaps all we need is each other. Really each other."
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.
Because really...isn't that what our schools and classrooms need at the end of the day? Calm care and a profound sense that what we are doing together is special and worthy of savoring? Less rush. More presence.
By focusing on teachers as assets, rather than gaps to be trained in a new way of thinking, the stage was set for the inquiry necessary to launch the fellowship.
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.