Great great post. I bet that this post was therapeutic even. Knowing what you have been through this year has been so hard for me to watch. I have taught in that kind of Kayos before, and I know how hurtful students can be to you and each other. Your districts dream of "fixing it" is commendable, but it seems they have not thought it through. Does that surprise me NO. Administration always have a vision, they just don't think it through.
The art of possibilities just the title itself is how your school should be viewed. Each and every one of those students has a possibility. If the school staff can commit to its vision then I am sure you will succeed. The words invest, empower and succeed offered by Alyson are awesome and apply.
I know it's hard and it has been so rough for you, but I know you can do it. Your personality will not let you throw in the towel without trying. Do you have support? At school maybe not always....but from me and others in this cohort? YOU BETCHA!
Week Four: Vision
Creating Frameworks for Possibility
While the last chapters of this month’s reading were all valuable, the one that resonated with me was the eleventh practice. The school that I teach at was completely overhauled with an entirely new staff, students, and grade levels this past school year. This whole year has been a work in progress, as the staff was hired only 2 weeks before school started (and in fact is not entirely complete now, and I came at the end of October), the administration was only assigned then as well, and our contract language is changed entirely for this building in the district alone. Teachers had never worked together before, and none had worked in this neighborhood or had any connections to the families in our school.
I say this because while we have been hired as “the best lead teachers in the city”, we have been operating without a clear vision. We have been thrown together with the task of “turning this failing school around”. A gargantuan task with no support from central administration to do so. At our last staff meeting, we discussed the need for a vision statement. I was a bit dismayed when we all contributed ideas and ended up with a vision the length of an essay with points encompassing all things we want to accomplish: lifelong learners, safe environment, parental education, engaged students, fostering curiosity, attending to health needs, community support, giving opportunities, 21st century technology, ending the cycle of poverty… the list went on and on. I felt that we were missing the mark on our vision statement. Of course we want all of these things for our students, but our vision could encompass all of these ideals without being an essay. It was simply a list of all the things that overwhelm us everyday and frankly, it was depressing to me to read it all and see all we have to accomplish.
According to The Art of Possibility, a vision articulates a possibility. It fulfills a desire fundamental to humankind. It is free-standing ~ it points to neither a rosier future, nor to a past in need of improvement. It is a long line of possibility radiating outward. I think that our vision for my school started during that staff meeting by looking at all that is wrong with our students’ lives, and what we want to do to fix it. That may be the worst way we can look at our vision. Why not the same vision as HP – “Robinson Elementary School For the World”? Not “Robinson Elementary School where we hope to erase poverty, drugs, gangs, parents who don’t know how to help their kids, kids who have no love of learning, atrocious behavior problems, pathetic attendance, government dependent citizens, violence....” Instead of looking at what we want to get rid of, we should be looking at where we strive to be.
Do we approach our vision by looking in the rear view mirror and addressing things that need to be changed? Or do we look forward at where we want to be as a school community? I will be sharing this chapter at our next staff meeting when we meet again to hammer out our vision statement.
photo from geekphilosopher.com
Posted by Cynthia Madanski at 9:03 AM
HI Faith,Sometimes our circuit boards are not seated tightly in position. The thousandth of an inch it is off can lead to many things that don't work or need to be fixed. When we are not grounded we can feel that way, that lonely overwhelmed feeling. One can trust in finding the proper seating by surrounding themselves with the ones they love, and with passion I believe. Your board maybe out of sink at times, but I truly believe that your sense of passion for life will always get you through. Your circuit board is strong and seated correctly most of the time :)David
MAC: Week 4 Blog 1
MAC week 4 blog 1 reading: The Art of Possibility byBenjamin Zander and Rosamund Stone Zander
|Used with permission from: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1387982|
What if wewere the circuit board of our life?
Perhaps this book is all about being Zen. I particularly like the portion of Zen that explores the lack of people living in a bottle. I find that at times I am guilty of the desire to be unaffected by the outside world. I like isolation, which is witnessed by the National Forest surroundings of my home. I find that too many people clutter my thoughts too easily. Yet despite this isolation we affect each other, and we are part responsible no matter which direction the outcome. I would like to be more efficient in the game of chess, but the concept of being the board seems harder for me to grasp. I understand that actions and reactions occur, and most of the time I do not assign blame. There are times though, when feeling low, that I am bound by insufficient thought and overwhelmed with negativity. When those times occur action is required to re-establish a positive mode of thinking and being.