Friday, January 03, 2014

Your Greatest Critics

In many ways it's easy to present to those you don't know, or share your ideas online with a mostly anonymous audience.  The true critics in your midst are those you live and work with--the ones that know you well and witness your daily strengths and challenges.

Yet, if we don't take the time to meet the challenge of presenting to our colleagues, we certainly won't grow or develop in the many ways possible.

Hence, next Wednesday, like many colleagues before me, I'll make the time to share to our school-wide audience. This share is daunting in many ways. First, I work with many talented professionals so I don't want to waste their time with a less than useful presentation. Next, I know that others have contributed to the work I'll share and have completed similar work as well.  Hence, I want to make sure that I acknowledge the fact that the work is ultimately a shared effort--the result of the thoughtful, caring work of many professionals in our system.  Finally, I want to make the connection between this work and student learning making sure that I keep students' needs and interests at the center of the presentation.

In many education environments, teachers have little voice and choice. Therefore many of us haven't challenged and developed our skill at presenting to one another.  Our school system has opened up this opportunity through PLC's, summer institutes, and in-service professional development. We're reaching towards the kinds of vigorous, student-centered collaboration that creates dynamic organizations. The share, critique, and growth is yet to be a simple, fluid process as we still have room for growth with regard to these efforts.

Next Wednesday, I'll reach out.  In the meantime, I'll make the time to prep this short presentation so that I demonstrate the respect and care worthy of the many dedicated professionals I work with.