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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Teaching Well: We Can Do It Better

When things don't go as you imagine, it's a message that you can do it better. There's a natural resistance to this message as the call to do things better also sends the following messages:
  • We weren't as good as we could have been
  • We didn't see all the details
  • We had not thought of those possibilities before
  • It wasn't on our radar
  • There's more to learn
Yet, if we resist the regret that comes with the call for betterment, we can instead embrace that call and move our work and programs forward. Good living is a process of heeding the call for betterment and following that direction. 

We have to be gentle with each other when it comes to the call for betterment since it's a sensitive process, a process that requires us to retire some old think and action in order to embrace new work and effort. Once we move ahead and look back, the regret is replaced with gratitude--gratitude that you took the step forward towards betterment and that betterment made a difference.

As I think of my life, those I love, and our individual and collective paths, I notice these specific details about betterment.

Good Questioning
Betterment is fostered by good questioning. Questioning is so much more powerful than commands. For example, I could say to my child, "How are you going to budget so you have enough money for that trip?" rather than "Don't spend too much or you won't have money for the trip."

Collective Vision Making
Betterment is fostered by collective vision making. I could say to the class, "What do we want the classroom to look like? How can we make that happen?" If we all work together towards a dynamic classroom vision, then it's likely that everyone will have greater investment in making that happen. 

Acknowledging Good Work and Effort
Betterment fostered by acknowledging what we've already done to build success and good work. For example our team could say, "Our new shared teaching model has been so successful since we're able to teach the curriculum with greater depth and care, yet there's still room for improvement with the model beginning with re-looking at the schedule."

The Reality of Life's Journey
Betterment fostered by acknowledging that the journey toward better is filled with responsible risk, error, need for analysis/reflection, revision, teamwork, and more. Understanding that all work is a journey and that journey is not a straight upward diagonal, but instead a path of ups and downs that hopefully altogether reaches forward in positive ways. 

In the days ahead as I work alone and with colleagues toward betterment, I'll remember the points above. Let me know if you have anything to add.