I was fortunate to have the opportunity to see Rick Wormeli this week. Oh, the enthusiasm that emanates from that man! He came skipping into the room, and even asked, "Is Joy Kirr here?" (No, I'm NOT a Twitter stalker, just an admirer!)
My big take-away from the (stellar) professional development today: I need to bring these ideas back to my team. The strongest question I heard today was, "To what degree will you allow your colleagues to keep doing what they're doing, even if you think it is not right?" Team time can be difficult when there are many strong opinions in the room, and we all think we're right. I feel I need to stop staying quiet (because I get intimidated), and start speaking up.
I'm always the one that supports good ideas - I get on the bandwagon and cheer! I try to help out where I can. I'm not one to challenge others. However, Rick got me thinking. Later in the afternoon, I found myself on Twitter asking someone about their tweet & the name of a contest for students - It's called the "Smart Student Blog Contest." The name just rubbed me the wrong way, so after a three-minute struggle in my mind about whether to even go there or not, I replied to the person who tweeted it out...
As soon as I tweeted it out, I regretted it. And yet, I didn't delete it. I wondered, "What's the worst that could happen - he unfollows me?" I don't follow him (for various reasons), but he was on a list of mine that showed up on my TweetDeck - the reason I saw his tweet. Still, I wasn't looking for a fight. I looked back at my tweet and saw that it wasn't negative, just inquisitive. I received this in reply:
And I replied back, because I was still irked by the name "Smart Student..."
Phew! That tiny challenge took a lot out of me. It was time for met to get off Twitter for the day!
This morning, I saw this tweet from a very well-respected member of my PLN:
I smiled, and replied...
What ensued at 6:15am today was a valuable conversation between Jill and I about what our role is as educators. Do we want the best for only OUR students, or for ALL students?
What am I scared of? I'm worried I'll be known as the teacher who thinks she knows it all. (But if they really knew me, they'd know I have no clue what I'm doing!) I don't want to be the bad guy. I don't want to look like a jerk. I don't want to stir the pot.
Do I have a record for stirring the pot? No. I did one time, two years ago, on opening day. I remember it clearly. I asked another teacher why she would ask the teachers in the grade below her to give her notes on students before she'd even met them. I asked, "Whatever happened to a 'clean slate?'" She has just started talking to me again... I don't want to burn bridges. Heck, I want to be liked - especially where I work.
It is, however, time for me to step it up a notch. I now have Rick Wormeli's question taped to my open laptop. It's there to remind me, while speaking with other teachers in a meeting about students, to challenge ideas I don't believe in. But how? How can I do so - nicely - so as to not burn bridges and keep the conversations going? I think I'm going to start with another tip from Rick and from many others I've heard from in the last two years I've been on Twitter - ask the right question, and then let the answers go around the room. Once it's been discussed by others, reflect what I hear, and ask again, if need be. Or... is it better to have this conversation one-on-one? Hopefully my coworker who attended with me will support my endeavors.
I need your help now... How do you do find this balance at your school? Or do you not? Let's keep the conversation going and encourage each other to do the same!
Want to know more about what I learned? My notes from Rick Wormeli's session are here on Storify.