Supporting Floundering Folks
This year will find me working very hard to support some folks and move them towards growth. As educators it is imperative that we do better than “Do No Harm.” While that may be a starting spot, we must strive to “Do The Greatest Good.” As an educator, I must use that adage to move folks upward or outward. I will be challenged.
My belief is that all folks deserve support to grow and deserve my best to achieve growth. Everyone deserves a chance to find a new stride and change the race. It is easy to fall prey to negativity and spiral into a sarcastic rut. It is almost impossible to climb out on one’s own. Although the potential exists that one or more might be better off being counseled out of a position, I look forward to the excitement of helping reignite a forgotten passion for teaching the child. It won’t be difficult to reignite the passion for subject, but the passion for reaching a child’s heart, mind and soul will be more challenging to reignite. The other challenge will be in changing practice. Using the most comfortable style of teaching is what too many of us fall back on. Moving out of the that comfort zone of “Stand and Deliver” is essential in today’s world. Embracing a bit of chaos and independence in the learner is difficult but it must happen for the learner’s sake. The practice of education is changing rapidly and we must do the same if we are to provide our students with what they really need to be successful citizens of this 21st century world.
Leading from within will provide a compass for me with which to set a path by using my heart and head together to support in an appreciative manner. To begin, I must help folks believe in the strengths they have so they can create more of that for themselves and their students. I must notice what they do well and share that. In education the focus tends to be on the weaknesses. This is true for both students and teachers. Instead of looking to add more of what is strong, what is working, and using those to build and support, we look at the flaws, which of course draws more attention and energy to those flaws.
Appreciating the positive and the attempts at stepping out of the comfortable teaching style must be my focus. I must also offer suggestions, guidance, modeling, a sincere attempt at help. Only if my sincerity is honest and from “within” will the struggling teacher hear the suggestions and make an attempt to shift their practice. It is incumbent upon me to provide hope and possibility to the struggling folks; without it they will not improve, not because of not trying but because they will have had no restoration of hope.
Restoring hope and repairing the broken bridges must be the guides of a true Leader who leads from the inside. Changing anyone’s practice must begin with good faith efforts, leadership, and restoration of hope and possibility. Who in your department needs the restorative power of hope and possibility? Extend your hand in sincerity and lead from within to build new bridges.