Our district's technology conference, iEngage Berwyn is coming up in a few weeks and one of our keynote speakers is one of the authors, Jimmy Casas!
The portion of the book I'm reflecting on is the second part of Chapter 4: Go the Way. There are four sections in this portion of the chapter: Tell the Truth, Ask for Help, Stay the Course, and The Way We Respond.
Tell the Truth
At first glance, this one seems obvious. I'm a truthful person and bad liar--although pretty good deadpan/dry sense of humor ;) But this section is also about being truthful and honest even when it's having a tough conversation. In reflecting, I can think of several difficult conversations that I just plain avoided instead of addressing an issue. This portion of the book is a good reminder to be honest with people, obviously in a kind way, to help everyone grow. There is a book called Having Hard Conversations by Jennifer Abrams that has been on my "to-read" list for a while. I think I need to make it my next read!
Ask for Help
Asking for help can sometimes feel like a weakness-- but it actually is a strength! I've learned this in my teaching career. When I was a first and second year teacher, I held firm to the belief that I needed to look like I knew what I was doing. No matter what the situation, I "had it under control" and didn't want to ask for help. Big mistake!
Now that I have a little more experience, I actually ask for help more often! This year I am new to the instructional coach role after being in the classroom for 12 years. I'm asking questions every day! Having a middle school background and now working with several primary teachers, there is a lot I don't know. Sometimes I don't even know what I don't know! Reaching out to people in person or virtually, through my Twitter PLN, has been enormously helpful in my growth.
Here is an example of a recent plea for help:
I got a ton of responses and help in pushing my thinking forward, which never would have happened if I hadn't asked for help!#MTBoS what structures do you like best for primary: workshop, stations, whole group, combo, others? @jamiedunc3 @MarkChubb3 @pearse_margie— Annie Forest (@mrsforest) March 29, 2017
Stay the Course
There are always challenges. It can be tough, but it's important to keep going. Now that I'm a mom, I see a parallel to this idea. A mentor mom once said to me, "things will be hard sometimes, but don't worry, things always change. But if things are going well, remember, things always change!" Ha! Isn't this the truth. Staying the course helps you deal with those changes and challenges.
The Way We Respond
When I first read this header, I thought it was going to be more about how to respond. And, yes, a little of that was address. For example, we should be positive in those responses. However, I was surprised to read this section and learn it was more about the fact that it was more about making the effort to respond. Respond promptly to every communication. Even if you have things to do. Even if you get what feels like a million emails. Even if someone is angry at you. Even if someone stops to chat and you are busy.
"Excellent educators realize the importance of responding promptly and positively to every communication they receive."
This is a great reminder and advice.
The end of the chapter shares some great people and resources:
1. Rachel Cuppy (@rcuppy1)
2. Bill Ferriter (@plugusin)
3. Derek Dixon (@Mr_DerekDixon)
4. Ben Feight (@FeightB)
1. Jon Harper (@Jonharper70bd)
2. Jennifer Hogan (@Jennifer_Hogan)
3. Malynn Rodriguez (@malynn_r)
4. Dwight Carter (@Dwight_Carter)
1. "Nice Bike," video from Mark Scharenvroich
2. "What Are the Best Strategies for Surgace to Deep Learning?" blog post by Peter DeWitt
3. Seek Feedback
4. Create common values statements
Be sure to catch the next two posts on April 11th on Lauren Slanker's and Mona Towner's blogs!