Saturday, September 3, 2011

Seeing eye to eye...

Yesterday I had the opportunity to have a great discussion with one of the teachers at my school. We started this conversation during his conference period, and the discussion continued for about an hour after school ended.

Our discussion covered several different topics that are typically considered to be the "sacred cows" of educational discussions. Throughout this conversation we both brought up many good points, and the conversation definitely caused me to reflect and think about my educational beliefs and the way I approach my job as an Educator.
Perhaps the most important part of this experience was that there were a couple times when we did not agree. We had a philosophical difference in our beliefs based on past experiences and personal beliefs. Even more importantly, at no time did the conversation become personal for either of us. We talked as professionals and kept our focus on doing what we believe is best for students.

Though our perspectives are slightly different based on our current roles, we both were able to recognize the importance of having these difficult conversations that get Educators fired up. We both spoke passionately about what we believe and why we believe it, and in the end we shook hands and thanked each other for a great conversation.

I ended this conversation by saying that "if we aren't growing, we are falling behind." I truly believe that we need to have these difficult conversations that leave us vulnerable; conversations that are going to make us a little uncomfortable in an effort to grow and improve. It was a great end to a great week!

Here are a few questions to ponder as you get the 2011-2012 school year underway:

1) - Can you have conversations with your colleagues while making sure they don't become personal; can you keep the focus on doing what is best for students?
2) - If you are a teacher, can you have a candid and open conversation with the administrators in your building?
3) - If you are an administrator, can you have candid and open conversations with the teachers in your building?
4) - Do you see discomfort, disagreement and difficult conversations as a necessary route to growth and improvement?