As I prepared for it, I was mainly thinking about how I might motivate other teachers to get on board.
Though I did originally have a slide about the meaning of a collaborative culture, my main intent was not to send that message.
But maybe that's what happened. For one thing, as I talked, that's how I felt. As I described what we do:
It’s not about showing off.
It’s about troubleshooting, sharing, experimenting and improving.
It’s about collaborating.That's what I was feeling. And as I described what some teachers a have already shared at our meetings, and one teacher in particular who had run into serious challenges as he tried to implement the mastery model, I felt the need to reiterate:
That's what this is about. It's not about starting with the assumption our strategies will work. It's about facing the facts, whatever they are, and improving.I needed to hear that.
And looking out at the crowd, I thought I sensed everything from resistance and fear to agreement and encouragement. And I guess all of those feelings are in me as well. The tendency toward isolation and every-man-for-himself educational survivalism in which we all have to pretend we all have it all together gets to me.
Afterwords, a colleague said, "Thanks for the pep talk."
I hadn't thought about it as a pep talk, though it turned out to be one for me.
Time I got more serious about being vulnerable and open, facing brutal facts, and being fully committed to improvement, whatever the implications to me.