These things we call relationships, they are funny things when it comes to our professional lives.  Regardless of what field you are in, you started in that field somewhere.  Depending on where you are now in said field, there are those who you started with in certain positions that either still hold those positions, or have moved on to other responsibilities.  It’s just the nature of what we do, whether that be public sector or private sector.

brain bombs

How you handle that relationship matters a whole lot to your success.

Or does it?

I just wrote this in response to a teacher who reacted to an article I sent out to her department entitled “7 Bad Writing Habits You Learned in School:”

That’s precisely the question I want everyone thinking about. We truly focus so much of our energies on getting the format down and getting the “i’s” dotted and “t’s” crossed, and for many of the students we teach, that is completely necessary; however, as we begin to look at the next phase of what we’d like to do in the district which includes more than just being “proficient” on some state test, can we blend some of the thinking in this post into what we are doing.

And as for making people angry, my advice is that you don’t get the results you really want without making a few people angry along the way. Not that you try to, but when you know that what you are doing will make your students better, you just go with it.

She was asking whether or not it was all right to go forward with some of the ideas in the article, even if it angered some of her colleagues.  My response can be boiled down to very few words: “hell yes.”

We don’t propagate change in systems unless we are ready to have battles that we know will end up with feelings being hurt.  This is a fact that I am still warming to, as it is very contrary to my personality, and since I am creating change at the curriculum level in a district in which I originally taught.  When I think of the alternative, though, I can use that to gather the strength necessary to move forward with the type of thinking that will lead to the schools we need.

Yes, we can create change without alienating everyone on the bus, but there are times when we need to be strong enough in our convictions to say “yes, your voice has been heard and your input factored into the decision, but we need to move forward with this decision.”  Or, more simply, this is how we have decided it has to be done.  In no circumstances would I advocate a lack of explanation behind the decision, nor sound research supporting that decision.  When moving schools forward, we must always ask ourselves, regardless of the position we hold within that school, “does this help/hurt kids.”  Once we have that determined, the rest falls into place.

Image Credit: “Invasion/Relation” from colinwhite’s photostream


2 thoughts on “Relationships

  1. And it’s really fun when you take over as the leader of a school where the employees have been giving free reign of the decision-making process for the last ten years. And they’ve been steering the bus in the wrong direction. I have been hurting feelings and ruffling feathers, but in doing so, positive changes are being made for kids, and that’s what matters most.

    1. Lyn,

      Thanks for your comment. I don’t envy having to make some of the choices you are making, but as you say, the fact that it is for the kids is what matters most. Quick question: are you getting the reverse argument from those that “steered in the wrong direction” that what you are doing is harming kids?

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