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Friday, June 23, 2017

Working Through Discouragement

I left school so discouraged yesterday. It felt like so many important decisions were being made for us and not with us, and further, there were words that implied we did something wrong, yet I couldn't understand what the references referred to. It was a meeting with lots of listening, directives, and some confusion after a year of collective, dedicated positive teaching and learning with overall very good results.

What might have happened is that problematic issues could have been relayed, discussed, and resolved as they occurred with explicit effort. Also decisions could have been made with greater teamwork. In general, I'd like to see our system restructured in ways that support distributive leadership, elevated teacher voice and choice, and greater use of timely, transparent, strategic process to solve problems, share research and ideas, and evaluate/develop programs.

Some of the structures that are in place in the system are the same structures that were there when I started teaching in the system 31 years ago. In some cases, that works just fine, but in other cases, it's definitely time for change.

When you read about modern organizations, you recognize that autonomy, mastery, purpose, and teamwork are essential criteria for success. Good organizations today strive to elevate "collected genius" with effective/transparent communication, inclusive/collaborative teamwork/decision making, and strategic process that's employed with substantial lead time and the voices/choices of all stakeholders.

I recently heard our outgoing superintendent laud the use of strategic process, and I agree with that, but I'd restate it as inclusive, transparent, strategic process. That kind of effort will elevate what we can do by lifting up all stakeholders rather than leaving them out.

As I thought of this today, I figure out how I'll work within the parameters set and also advocate for promising change with respect.

I looked for the promise in the problem, wrote to administrators and colleagues with a potential win-win idea, and made a plan for next year's work and effort. Now I'm finally ready to start the summer break. Onward.