IT WAS THE FIRST professional development meeting of the new school year. If you crash-land in the middle of twitter, you’ll see a whole bunch of teachers posting about PD these days. As school starts, staff have many things that they have to do - figuring out schedules, complying with health and safety guidelines, determine after school (adjunct) duties, and all that kind of stuff. All of it is necessary, but not all of it is exciting. I happen to work for the greatest admin team ever, and they do a great job of finding ways to efficiently accomplish these things. Teachers meetings are a reality and finding ways to streamline them is an art.
Today we began the work of deciding the best ways to communicate with each other. This is really important work as we are only as strong as the ties that bind us together. A school can accomplish tons if it has a great group of teachers, but a school that has a united team of teachers can move mountains.
Teachers throw their hearts into their work, so it is no surprise that sometimes difficult or uncomfortable conversations pop up. As the year stretches on, and folks are hip-deep in the work, emotions can flare. It is no small thing to live in community, and it is even more difficult to be a community that is working together.
Communication is something I’ve thought about a lot. I don’t think it is my strongest ability. I can be bossy and slow to listen. I can also walk around with undiscussed hurt feelings. None of these things can lead to being able to function at the highest level. I have been working FOR YEARS on listening to others, and receiving information without being defensive. This is crazy, wicked tricky.
Lemme tell you what happened today. I am uber active in the teacher community on twitter. @jellison23. Twitter has an AMAZING community of teachers, and I’ve met some AWESOME real-life friends online. (Hey, Stephanie! What’s up, Clarissa!) . I made a comment today in one of the teacher feeds and got this reply: Why dismiss their feelings? Why not recognize that many people have math phobia and try to support them so that they being to transform their thoughts about math” . My first reaction was: “WHAT? How about you don’t slam me on the twitterverse. But then I thought about it. As far as the conversation goes, they had a valid point. I didn’t agree with them 100%, but listening to their view was actually helpful. So instead of posting an “Oh, no, you didn’t “ meme, I thanked them for helping me rethinking my response. See, growth. Of course, that is much, much, much easier in the digital world where I don’t have someone looking at me. Face to face is a lot more difficult. But here’s to continuing down that long, and winding road toward humanity.
Meanwhile, my leadership class starts tomorrow. I got over 30 applications for our after school club. We take 24 or so kids per semester, and so we have a wait list. I’m excited to work with a new group of kids. Who knows what they will pull off this year! It is always great to see a group of kids come together, and begin to build a team.
Keep moving forward,