Sunday, February 28, 2016

Supporting Good Work?

The weekend has been taken up with a conflict related to what I perceived to be good work.

I was asked to support an initiative that I felt was positive. I checked with authority, gained approval, and gave it a number of hours.

Then when a new question arose related to the effort, I reached out for clarification. At that time, I was challenged with regard to my offer to volunteer--the challenge included multiple issues I had not considered. I reached out for greater clarity.

Sometimes good work that's new opens up channels that have not been considered or reviewed before. Some may be reluctant to try what hasn't been tried, or do what hasn't been done. I never expected what I saw as a fairly simple offer to help become such a complex issue.

So this weekend, I've reviewed the effort and my offer to help. I've received a number of emails related to the effort, and I've written for more specific clarification. Now I await the detail I need to go forward so that I meet the regulations questioned.

Moving down new paths always brings with it new questions, decisions, and efforts, but that doesn't mean the path isn't worth the journey.

Over the years, I've tried a number of new paths of study and learning, and I have been questioned a lot. I've also hit a lot of hurdles in my efforts to innovate, try out new resources, and do new work. I've thought a lot about this and tried many different ways to develop my work with others and in concert with systemwide efforts.

Just recently, at our PLC, it was noted that if we change the schedule a bit next year, we will have the potential to uplift our collective efforts for students. So rather than just ask for a change in schedule, I asked a leader how we might go about advocating for change, and I asked the team if we could work together to advocate for this change. The team recommended that we devote time to discussing the change, and the administrator said that it would be good to show how the change could be made. Therefore, I made a draft of how the change might possibly be met, and the team agreed to discuss this change at an upcoming PLC or team meeting. Hopefully this collective effort to make change will be met with a more harmonious, inclusive process of strengthening what we can do for children.

Making change and doing good work relies on good process. With the initial issue in mind, I want to ask leadership, how can one be sure that their offer to volunteer is within the expectations of system leadership right from the start. I know that understanding of the mandated trainings (which I've read and studied) is one response to this request, but I wonder what other suggestions will be made. Who is in charge or this oversight? What are the proper channels? And how can this recent laborious effort become a more streamlined and targeted approach in the future for those who want to volunteer to help students and others with regard to educational endeavor.

We must continually consult our words, efforts, and time with regard to how we help each other teach children well. At the root of all this work is the question, "Will this result in positivity for those involved?" If our work results in work that positively affects the children we serve then in general, I think we should find ways to work together to make it happen.