Thursday, November 27, 2014

Contributing to a Culture of Care

On this Thanksgiving morning, I'm thinking about a culture of care both at home and at school.

Last year a painful experience distanced me from care in the work place, and yesterday the sting of that painful event remembered felt as sharp as a knife creating the potential for a lost holiday.  I brought the pain home last night to my family's dismay.

Could the event have been prevented? Yes, and no. I didn't plan to raise my voice, but a collegial discussion led to passionate feelings and thus a raised voice. Prior to the passionate exchange, I had tried many other ways to forward my thoughts and research related to the discussion topic to little avail. I was reprimanded heavily for the loud voice and challenged about the words I used and the way I used them, words that expressed my teaching/learning opinions.

Lesson learned: don't raise your voice at work, and always be professional about what you share and the way you share.

Since that time, I have felt the sting of reputation lost and less connection in the workplace. There's fear when it comes to associating with the educator that made a mistake or did the wrong thing in the workplace. It's a bit like being blacklisted and is a very painful experience. I must admit that I carry this heavy weight each and every day, and have been working to lessen the painful load. I know I'm not alone as many struggle in their workplaces for a large number of reasons.

The good news is that I've used this experience as an opportunity to forward my work and research related to teaching well. I have taken the lessons I've learned and turned them into opportunities for student learning and strength related to learning to learn mindsets and behaviors. And I've continued my focus on high quality teaching and learning in the classroom, efforts based on research, learning design, and learning community share. I know there is no growth without error or mistake.

On this holiday morning, I am thinking about this pain and opportunity. I am also thinking about the way that we create caring cultures at school and at home.

At home, we err too, but fortunately, our family shares our strengths and challenges with ease, and when we err we work to help each other move forward with honest conversation and forward-moving action. We're there for one another and want to see each other succeed. We recognize that we each bring great strengths and challenges to our family community, and we work to help each other with caring, joyful tradition and actions.

In the classroom the same is true, I honor each and every one of my learners. They each bring tremendous gifts to our community, and they all bring their learning challenges too. We work day in day out to support each other.

This is more complicated in the larger teaching/learning community due to the complexity of structures, schedules, time, and other factors, but in many ways, there is great success in this environment too when it comes to building a culture of care.

I hesitate to share this challenge on a holiday morning, but as one who is committed to sharing the teaching/learning journey, I think it's important to share the challenges too.

So on this Thanksgiving morning as I get ready to celebrate with family and friends, I am mindful of the ways that we can create a culture of care in our homes and in our work places.  This culture of care profits from making the time to listen to each other, encourage one other another, celebrate together, and be compassionate and supportive with regard to each others' shortcomings and challenges.

I wish all in my PLN a joyful holiday today and in the weeks to come. Honest discourse, share, and care coupled with humility and good work will lead us forward in ways that support our families, colleagues, students, and selves. Happy Thanksgiving.

Godin's Post Inspires