It is October – a time of the year that nature teaches us about “letting go.” It is also a time of the school year where the “shiny-ness” of the new year has worn off and many of us dip into “disillusionment.” This graphic from “The New Teacher Center” is intended to show the progression for novice teachers, but I would say it applies to all educators.
It is this time of the year, especially, that we have to remember that we need to be mindful of the stories we tell ourselves. The things that we focus on have a direct effect on our mindset and thinking/filter through which we see our daily interactions/activities. I am not saying we need to ignore or avoid having hard conversations, but we also need to practice being grateful. As Brene Brown shares – practicing gratitude makes us joyful! It truly changes the chemistry of our brains.
When we are in the “dip of disillusionment” we need those around us to remind us of all the things we have to be grateful for. Many times that also involves letting go of those things that we cannot control. Move from the “if only” to the “what if” mindset. A great post from Angela Watson came across my feed this week where she talks about “Radical Acceptance.” Read or listen to the podcast: Radical Acceptance: How to deal with teaching frustrations you cannot change.
My favorite phrase in Angela’s post is this: Here is the reality of what we’re dealing with. What thoughts, words, and actions can I choose to make the situation better?
I would follow that up with – what am I grateful for in my current situation, and how can I build on that to make the reality of what I cannot control better?
Last week’s #IDedchat conversation brought a wondering about “WHY.” Most of us have read or heard about Simon Sinek’s Power of Why. In Lead Beyond your Title, Nili Bartley talks about using your “why” to stay true to yourself. She also talked about being sure to explain your “why” when experiencing pushback from others. The question I posed was: “How do you communicate your “Why” to others who struggle to understand change or innovation you are trying to implement?”
Some of the responses varied greatly – from sharing stories – to SHOWING your why – but we did have some express that sharing a why can be difficult at times.
When we know our why – and then take the time to find out someone else’s why – we can then work together to find common ground to push change forward.
Michael Johnson talks about how “Knowing Your Why gives your WHAT more impact because you are walking in or toward your purpose “- knowing the “why” and “stories” of those around you makes that even more powerful.
#IDedchat Challenge – Take time to share your why – through storytelling or story-showing AND find out the stories of those you work with. What happens?
In Lead Beyond Your Title, Nili introduces Ch 16 with a quote from Susan Scott’s book, Fierce Conversations:
“Think of your company as a beach ball. Picture the beach ball as having a red stripe, a green stripe, a yellow stripe, and a blue stripe. Let’s imagine that you are the president of the company. That is you standing on the blue stripe. The blue stripe is where you live, every day, day after day. If someone asks you what color your company is, you look down around your feet and say, ‘My company is blue.” –Susan Scott
This really resonated with me this week – so many times, we can’t understand why our colleagues cannot see the change that is needed. Sometimes we don’t understand why administrators are so focused on a certain issue instead of what we think is important. So many times we can only see the “color” we are living in – we forget that our colleagues may be living on a different color.
There are two things this reminds me of. The first has to do with one of my favorite novels growing up – To Kill a Mockingbird. The second has to do with my favorite Freedom Writer, Manny Scott.
In Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus works to explain to his daughter Scout that until you “have walked a mile in another man’s shoes” you cannot truly understand how they think, or what they have experienced.
Manny Scott talks about the importance of “openness” when it comes to “REACH”ing our students – and when it comes to building relationships with colleagues. We have to put ourselves aside and realize that it isn’t about US. Read more about it here:
What we have to remember is when we reach our frustration point – we need to step back and think…am I seeing this only through the lens of my color? What color is the other person living in? How can I approach the situation from their color? How can I help them see my color too?
Challenge: Try out some strategies to build relationships with other colleagues this week. Engage them – really see them with an open heart and mind – learn about their passions – find out what color they live in.
P – I – R – A – T – E
PIRATE – the acronym of PIRATE Leaders and PIRATE Teachers and PIRATE Educators!
This sketchnote by Monica Spillman @mspillman is found on the Lead Like a Pirate website. Beth Houf and Shelley Burgess are the “founders” of PIRATE leading. Lead Beyond Your Title by Nili Bartley is referred to as a PIRATE Leader’s guidebook.
So…which letter do you most identify with at this moment in your PIRATE leader journey?
P – Passion
I – Immersion
R – Rapport
A – Ask and Analyze
T – Transformation
E – Enthusiasm (and Engagement)
Challenge: Reflect on your journey – and ask colleagues. Share your discoveries about which letter you, and others, identify with – and share the “why” behind the letter you chose! Share in the comments or on Twitter using the #IDedchat hashtag.
These two small words can turn a roadblock into a jumping-off point! So many times, we find reasons why we can’t do things in our classrooms. Many times those roadblocks happen because we are too busy, too overwhelmed, focused on standards, focused on time, etc. Many of these things are legitimate reasons that can get in our way. Sometimes we just need to take a step back and think…what one small thing could I try. What if…
Check out this video from Eric Sheninger about turning “yah buts” into “what ifs:”
What if you focused on trying just one small thing tomorrow or next week or next month?
Challenge: Try one small thing in your classroom, or with your staff. Share your results in the comments here, or on Twitter using the #IDedchat hashtag.
Here is the #IDedchat schedule for our book study of Lead Beyond Your Title
- August 14 – Introduction, Ch 1 and Ch 2
- August 21 – Chapters 3-5
- August 28 – Chapters 6-7
- September 4 – Chapters 8-10
- September 11 – Chapters 11-13
- September 18 – Chapters 14-16
- September 25 – 17-19
- October 2 – 20-22
- October 9 – Sailing Beyond Your Title and Wrap Up!
Each discussion will take place during the regularly scheduled #IDedchat time: 8pm MDT. Please be sure to invite others to join in our learning!
Can you believe that #IDedchat just recently had its 7th birthday?! When #IDedchat first started, it was as a result of encouragement from Nancy Blair @blairteach and Dr. Darin Jolly @drjolly. It began on the back patio at Janet Avery’s house in Jerome at the end of July 2012 – finding a time and day of the week was a challenge at first. Then, Simon Miller @leadedtech introduced Janet to a tech coach who was trying to get a Boise area chat up and running. That tech coach was Marita Diffenbaugh @mdiffenbaugh.
The purpose of #IDedchat is to provide a platform where Idaho Educators (and anyone else who wants to join the conversation) can come together to learn from and with each other. We come together to confirm and to challenge. When we come into this space, we introduce ourselves and what our “role” in education is; however, when we are in this space – we are learners, not titles.
We love that other educators from outside Idaho join us each week – it adds perspective to our conversation and theirs. We have always dreamed of expanding the learning experience. The first way that happened was through the founding of Edcamp Idaho! That first edcamp was planned all through Twitter and Hangouts! The first time we were all together was when we were setting up the evening before! What an experience that was – face to face participant-led discussions – and we just had our 6th Edcamp in June!
This blog is our next step in broadening the learning impact of our #IDedchat PLN. Our hope is that after chats each week, we (Janet, Marita, both) will expand on a “gem” from our chat and include resources. OR we will reach out to one of you. Ours will be called “wonderings.” Guest posts will have a different title. We are so excited to begin the next phase of this journey with all of you!