There are those in our midst that serve as obstacles to our professional growth, learning, and development. With an empathetic eye, you may see those individuals as the ones that make you better, but in truth, many of these individuals only serve to diminish your ability to teach and learn well.
As I read several articles about social emotional learning today, I realized that there is a real need in schools to support educators with positive social emotional endeavor. Too often educators are led in ways that are divisive and unsupportive. Also many school roles, structures, and routines do not support positive social emotional learning communities.
Yesterday, in opposition to this, I met with a team that consisted of the school nurse, guidance counselor, and principal. We worked together to solve a problem of practice. It was a rich, thoughtful, and strong social/emotional effort--one I believe will positively impact the problem we were working together to solve. This kind of collaboration is the kind of effort we need to make time for more often in schools.
Too often, rather than the event described above, top-down, authoritarian initiatives and activity are imposed on educational staff. Efforts like this that don't honor or enlist the voice and choice of educators and serve to demean and diminish what's possible. Efforts like these waste a lot of emotional time and potential with regard to what's possible in schools.
As I think about this, I recognize that we have to hitch our wagons to the supporters in our midst and stay clear of those that serve continuously to obstruct the good work possible. Yes, it's good to listen to the naysayers now and then and learn from their critique, but in general, you'll go a lot further if you align yourself to the positive influencers and contributors in your teaching/learning environment.