Thursday, December 5, 2013

Maybe we need to ditch the training wheels...

We've all been new at something at some point in time in our lives.

We all know what it feels like to be on the short end of the knowledge stick.

The experience most likely caused varying degrees of stress and discomfort.

Stress and discomfort are handled differently by each of us, and similarly, each organization handles support and assistance to those who are experiencing stress and discomfort differently.

Imagine the new teacher who is struggling with a challenging student or a challenging parent. Can the administrator swoop in and 'take care' of the situation? Absolutely he/she could, but does that prevent the new teacher from learning how to handle challenging students and challenging parents? Does this new teacher learn that he/she should go to the administration every time they have an issue, or do they learn to troubleshoot, get creative, and think outside the box for possible solutions...

Imagine the new administrator who is struggling with a challenging teacher or a challenging parent. Can the superintendent or assistant superintendent step in and resolve the issue? Absolutely he/she could, but will the new administrator ever learn how to deal with challenging teachers and challenging parents? Will the new administrator inadvertently undermine his/herself by always getting external assistance? In the short term, probably not, but in the long term, the effects could be detrimental...  

Imagine the student who is struggling with solving a problem. Can the teacher or parent step in and provide assistance and walk the student through the process? Absolutely he/she could, but does the student learn about perseverance and learn about multiple paths and avenues to solve a problem? Will this student learn how to get through their struggles in an effort to find a solution, probably not, especially if a teacher and parent are always there with a 'life-line.'

Here's the thing, we all at some point in time need help from someone else, but we have got to be careful about providing too much help too quickly that ultimately ends up stymieing one's growth and development.

When we give people the opportunity to find their own way, we will be pleasantly surprised by the results. Sure, some will get lost along the way, but that's why we work as a team so colleagues can help us find our way again. 

Despite those few who get lost, we will have many others who will excel and reach destinations we never would have imagined.

Go ahead, ditch the training wheels and step back... I think you'll like the results.