Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Does that Act Equal Value?

In complex environments such as schools you have to think about the value of your actions--do your actions matter?

In these complex environments, there's much to contend with in order to do the job you envision and dream of. There's multiple mandates, rules, permission processes, and communication to navigate, and before venturing down each road, you have to stop, think, and ask yourself, "Is this path worth it? Is this path valuable?"

Sometimes the issues you face in school, and I suppose in life too, are alarming. You wonder, "Why does this continue to happen or why has this happened for the first time?" Yet the events persist and you have to make a decision about whether you will champion that cause or not--you can't champion every cause, or work to right every wrong. Educators have to be choosy about what they go after, and if at all possible, the key is to go after the actions and efforts that matter.

For example today I got a bit upset about a last minute equipment change--one that I didn't anticipate on the day before school starts, a day when I had my room set up and time planned. Yet the equipment change was planned, reviewed, and about to happen soon.  There may be less disruption than I've anticipated, and I just have to let it go because I don't have any control over it anyways. The same is true for a few specialist scheduling issues. Again, I just have to wait it out until the schedules are created and the patterns of service can commence.

As an educator our power is limited in many ways, and our power is great in other ways. We have tremendous power over the kinds of relationships we make, the issues we advocate for, and the time we put in to do the job well. On the other hand, we have to be mindful of the areas where our power is small and our voice little--unless very important, you just have to steer clear of those areas. Some are very good at this, and others not so good.

In general, I'm a big fan of being ready for the first day of school with schedules, equipments, and plans--I like to focus that day solely on the students and no other matters. I actually believe this is possible.

For now thought, I've got to pull my focus back to the classroom and the students and let the schedules and equipment go. Onward.