My Moment – Day 13 – It Takes a Spark

If you have not gotten a chance to read my blog about my #oneword for 2016, check out Enjoy the Moment. 

As I mentioned in my blog, my #oneword is a call to action for me to be mindful of the moments that make up my day. The moments at home, the moments at work and the moments that happen in between.

According to Albert Einstein, insanity is the act of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different results.

Ever feel like you are insane? Education as a whole likes to make things sound different, dress them up in fancy acronyms or alter an instructional approach to make it seem better, but at the end of the day, the approach we take is still exactly the same.  As my #leaduptribe mate Neil Gupta would say, “You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.”

I wrote in Day 8 that I was ready for a change and asked the question, “Who is Coming with Me?” I continue to have conversations on campus about what exactly this transformation will look like and what I am discovering is more folks may be ready than I expected. 

Today, I was able to sit down and have a conversation with a staff member about where we may be heading. We talked about PBL, we talked about the Texas Principal’s Visioning Institute and we talked about Alan November and his book, Who Own’s the Learning. At the end of the day, we both agree that our students need to own their learning. We want students to embrace opportunities. We want them to wonder, ask questions and be curious. We want all those things, but do we allow them to happen? I recalled a guided reading lesson I was able to sit in on earlier in the day in Kindergarten. I could not help but notice the excitement these five and six year olds had. They were excited to read and they were excited to learn. They wondered. They made connections. They asked questions. It was amazing to sit back and observe how happy they were. Where does that go? What do we do to students to make that go away? As the teacher and I continued to talk about what this transformation would look like, I was reminded about the barriers that may exist. Who may or may not be ready for change? How will this change impact students on state testing? How will we roll this out? What will the expectations be? Each of the points raised were valid questions. My #leaduptribe would refer to these questions as “friction”. Do not be mistaken. Friction can be a good thing…in fact, a great thing. The “friction” allows for leaders to see all angles; consider all options and work through these potential obstacles before they become barriers to change. 

As my time with this staff member came to a close, I was fired up. I get very excited thinking about what education “could be”. My moment came when I received an email later in the day from the staff member who I had spent time with. 

“I also believe that we cannot continue to do exactly what has been done in the past if we want different results.  I really believe that when we take the time to reflect, research, learn new things, and share successes, we will find the right balance.”

I am not naive. I know change is hard. I know it does not happen in an instant and I know you cannot turn your back everything you know, to just “try something new”. With the mindset captured in the statement above, I am reminded of the quote, “It only takes the smallest spark to ignite the fire inside of us. Then everything becomes possible.” 

Here’s is to celebrating the #moment when everything becomes possible. 

What was your moment today?