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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Be Ready for Challenging Situations

I am anticipating a number of challenging situations in the new year, situations related to desired change and advocacy. How will I react when faced with these challenges?

Disrespectful Speak
Recently I was met with a disrespectful response from a new administrator. His response surprised me. He spoke in a joking manner, but the words were not a joke. I responded with the phrase, "That's not funny." I don't know this person at all. It was my first time meeting him. So if I encounter this individual in the future, I will listen more than speak. I want to hear what he has to say, and if he continues to respond with disrespect, I will speak up. For now though, it's possible that he did mean his words as a joke.

I want to stand up to disrespectful phrases sooner than later, and similarly I want to watch my own speak too. Recently I was close to a conversation that was very disrespectful. I listened and heard how hurtful the speakers' words were. It was a good reminder to me that we all have to be careful about the way we talk to and about each other.

Divergent Perspectives
Many have ideas about how to improve our collective practice, yet there are few good processes when it comes to sharing those ideas and understanding each others' experience, knowledge, and practice. Without good process, people tend to talk at each other rather than with each other. When this happens the work we do together lacks strength and promise. In the year ahead, I'm going to listen carefully to the words people say--I am going to listen for the evidence they provide, evidence which makes their words and ideas meaningful and promising. Like almost everyone I work with, I look forward to good collaborative work that leads to betterment with what we can do with and for families and students. To reach that betterment we need to speak with each other with sensitivity and words that matter. We also need to use processes that matter and lead us ahead.

Though questions are not always welcome, it's better to ask a question than to proceed without clarity or understanding. Also questioning is a powerful approach when you are unsure about the effect or purpose of a directive or decision. I will continue to question, and think about how to best question in order to understand and work well together.

Repetition and Redundancy
At my stage as a 32-year veteran teacher, there will be a good amount of repetition and redundancy when it comes to systematic efforts. I need to be patient with this and leave room for the enthusiasm, learning, and collaboration of new educators.

Open Minded
I work in an atmosphere with many committed and talented educators. There are always many, many ideas about how to teach better. I want to be open minded to these ideas as there is always room for growth. I also want to be discerning about new ideas since I have learned a lot over 32 years of teaching too.

While I'm a big fan of teacher leadership, I also am aware that I have a discrete role in the teaching/learning organization where I work. I want to focus in on that role and those expectations as my first priority in the year ahead. I've outlined those goals specifically and will follow that outline.

It's taking some time to retire the past year of teaching and ready my mindset and efforts for the new year ahead. I believe this reflection is worthwhile and positive as it will lead to better work.
My overarching goals for the year ahead.