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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Welcoming New Members to Our Committees, Classrooms, and Schools

As a new member of a committee, I have a lot of questions. I'm not really sure how the committee works and I don't understand all the laws and protocols of the committee either. The committee leaders look at me with a bit of contempt when I ask questions. I know they can't believe that I don't know what I'm asking about or perhaps they really don't want to think about the question topics I'm curious about. I'm not sure yet, but I want to understand this committee. I want to know how they work, what they do, and how I can help in meaningful ways.

Sometimes when structures are in place for a long time with same people and same process, the people involved forget about the need to carefully communicate their message and committee's efforts. They may even forget the original purpose for the committee or forget to acknowledge that committees, like any structure, need to continually evolve to do their work well as the world around them evolves.

I want to be respectful to the committee too. I want to acknowledge their good work, the time they've devoted to their mission, and their knowledge. I need to observe, listen to their remarks and answers, and figure out where my role starts and ends in this regard.

The same is true for our colleagues and students at school. As they join our teams, classrooms, schools, and organizations, it's imperative that we give them a good introduction, welcome them into the learning, allow them to contribute in ways that matter, and take their questions seriously.