Today, I stumbled across 4 blog entries that seemed to relate to the
same theme–Change. Sure, there were tons more to wade through,
including mine, but I found myself drawn to these stories.

The last blog entry I read–and, probably didn’t understand completely

because it was so thick, dense with ideas…compacted—was one
from Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach
. I’m fortunate to find my way through
even one of her blog entries, since there is so much rich stuff there.
One of the ideas that jumped off the screen at me was this one:

Rather reflection in action, transparency in our process via
conversations
with experts on the Web will enables us to spend time
exploring why we acted as we did, what was happening in a group and so
on and inform our practice as we move forward. In so doing we develop
sets of questions/answers and this informs our ideas about our
activities and practice
.

Often, in school settings, the pool of people participating in
conversations is…well…shallow. Some administrators prefer to play in
the shallows of theory and knowledge, rather than dive deep. As a
result, their work reflects that shallowness, and they appear more as
those pretty bugs that walk on water but are insubstantial. I know
because I am often guilty of this, increasingly more so as I remain an
administrator. This shallowness can sometimes translate into going with
the flow, of not being transparent in our conversations and our actions,
masking our true intentions to prevent others from judging us or
criticizing. In the end, it is a losing battle that sacrifices our
integrity. I was reminded of this when I read
Dr. Scott McLeod’s entry
today:

At the request of her principal, Pam
delivered a presentation to her staff on technology tools. At a
follow-up meeting, she faced a lot of criticism from members of the
Faculty Council who claimed that she ‘wasted their time.’ Rather than
supporting Pam, her principal
simply sat there and nodded her head as Pam absorbed the blows
.

Obviously, this principal betrayed the trust. It is unpardonable,
unforgivable…unless the principal comes right out and admits that s/he
is wrong in a public forum and takes responsibility. In that single act,
the principal can reclaim the mantle of leadership, regain the trust of
those who must place their trust in him on a daily basis, and for whom
he is an advocate for. Yet, like the Indian proverb Vicki
Davis
quotes below, it may be impossible for the principal to do.

“There is no point in cutting off a person’s nose and then giving them a
rose to smell.”
Indian proverb

and this quote from Doug
Johnson’s blog
caught my eye in the same way:
We don’t believe
humans evolved to be so bad at making decisions, so poor at changing our
minds, so violent in arguing our point of view. – ChangeThis

It seems we’re all captivated by this idea of bringing about change.
Often, the best I can do is invite someone to a conversation. I can lay
out my agenda, what my fears are, and invite them to trust me to do the
same. If they betray the trust, I have to persevere and trust again…or
leave. I have never been an administrator who sought to create a
situation that would force another person to leave. I have the good
fortune to work with excellent folks, and it becomes clear that those
who have a hidden agenda–usually it’s not so hidden, such as furthering
their own career while trampling upon the good name of others or
avoiding doing something because it appears/is more work–are out for
their own gain…and, while such behavior may be acceptable in some
circles, it’s not in schools.

Vicki’s
lesson
is wonderful, and maybe applies to Pam’s situation:

It didn’t matter that “I’m the cool cat teacher” (ha ha) or that “I
cohost Wow2″ or the countless hours spent researching and studying how
to effectively implement technology in the classroom. The presentations,
the awards, all of the things that I had done simply didn’t matter. All
that mattered was my ability to keep calm and express in the simplest
terms possible the value of these tools. . .The fact that online
credentials and credence don’t matter a hill of beans in our own back
yard.

And, while that’s true, I have learned that sometime the best thing we
can do is laugh at the injustice, at the obvious violation of trust that
occurs. In fact, as I shared the latest debacle, my friend said to me,
“Miguel, you just have to laugh.” And, fortunately, I already was. But
within that there is a determination to be as fully ME as possible. As I
reflect on the fact that I’m 39 and just coming to understand this, I
wonder at why it’s taken so long. Again, what if someone had shared the
following with me when I was younger? This selection from A Return to
Love
by Marianne Williamson that will be recognizable for so many of
us, and so critical for those of us who are in Pam and Vicki’s position:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that
we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that
most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of
God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing
enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure
around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to
make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some
of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we
unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re
liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

For me, that is the essence of change…allowing your light to shine,
freely, and if it so chooses, boldly. . .our goal isn’t to change
others, but to be true to the power of who we can be. And, bringing
people into the transparent conversations we have on the Web can help
that happen. We are sharing our testimony of the power of conversations,
redemptive conversations that enable us to discover who we really are.

Finally, I like what Durff had to say:

Online learning, while it looks solitary, is anything but that. My
personal network is online 24/7 and I guarantee they all know, whether
they care to or not, where I am, why I am here, and how I feel. Do we
really think we adults are the only ones? How egocentric of us!

It’s powerful to have my experience be informed by Pam, Scott, Doug,
Vicki, and Ms Durff (what is your first name?). . .and all available
online, all helping me to better be the change I want to see in the
world…but first of all, to be the change.


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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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