Delight 25: Madeline’s Par

If you’re new here or new to this series, this is the origin story of my ongoing series on Delight. In essence, I’m working to be more mindful of those moments of delight that happen all the time but often get forgotten as quickly as they are experienced. This is my effort to document and savour these moments.

Madeline Black is a colleague and friend who shared with me her passion for golf. This week we had the opportunity to play together after our ALP retreat. She was clear that she is still relatively new to the game and had not played this year. I assured her we would have fun together. As someone who plays a lot of golf, it’s always a goal for me no matter who I play with we have fun. Golf can be a very intimating game and I’m conscious to address as many of the barriers as I can and make people feel comfortable. I suppose I take the same attitude into my work life.

Madeline is a natural athlete. She was hitting the ball quite solidly but like most golfers, especially new ones, struggled with consistency. When I play with new golfers … Read the rest

Should Your Workplace Be Your Family?

I’ve read more books on the workplace and creating a healthy sustainable work-life than almost anything else. I believe it’s a key to a successful and happy life and I also think there are direct ties to schools and classrooms. In recent years there has been a clear shift in attitudes towards the workplace environment. Coming out of the industrial age, work was seen as a necessary element of survival and not necessarily a choice people would willingly make if it weren’t for the money. Barry Schwartz talks about the historical context in Why We Work. In essence, the industrial and factory age shifted people from individuals pursuing a craft to mass production which was less satisfying and thus figuring out how much to pay people to do menial tasks became the driving focus of the economy. As we move into the information age, we begin to see work as something that shouldn’t just be a means to survival but that work itself should bring us joy and purpose. As a society, we’re not all the way there but it’s certainly a more prevalent attitude today than it was even 30 years ago.

Part of that shift comes from

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Two Things are True Part 2

My ongoing exploration and interest in better understanding the intersection of acknowledging the current fatigue factor in our schools and the need or desire to learn and grow as humans and professionals continues.

Every time I interact with educators I ask them about this question and get their perspectives. My anecdotal data would suggest things are relatively constant: Teachers are tired and struggling. One conversation I had with a superintendent suggested that one of the things that are causing fatigue is the lack of automation in our day. Duties and routines that were previously automatic are now taking a cognitive effort to execute. Things like getting kids to work in groups, scheduling meetings used to be about the content and task and now are about how to ensure safety and comfort. I recently listened to an episode of This American Life where the opening segment showed how much work it is to communicate given masking, ventilators and distance. That once natural exchange requires an added effort that is surprisingly tiring. The piling on of these daily challenges naturally makes us more tired. This isn’t the only thing that is adding to our fatigue but seems to be something that is … Read the rest

Two Things Are True

This is essentially what I’ve been trying to figure out for the past 18 months

The real truth is I’ve been trying to figure that out for the past 20 years, ever since I shifted from teaching children to teaching adults. As much as we try to model the classroom experience to adult learning, I realize that pedagogy and andragogy are different. This is true not only in terms of capacity and perspective but also the environment. Classrooms have the advantage of a daily connection. In lower elementary, it means you’re spending hours each day with each other. You have time to connect and build relationships which we know is essential. We also have learners whose primary job is to go to school to learn. When it comes to professional learning, it’s above and beyond their main job. Even when time during school is given, it’s extra, let alone the time it would take to prepare for a … Read the rest

Understanding How Communities Work

Having held the title of “Community Manager” and been directly involved in this work for a decade, you’d think I’d know more about the topic. The truth is I’ve been searching for a framework, structure or maybe a magic bullet the whole time. By many accounts and metrics, I’ve had success in this role. I can think of all the events, relationships and connections that I’ve made and fostered and feel pretty good. And yet, I still struggle with how to articulate what community really is and how it can be created, designed and how to grow and nurture it.

I suppose it’s much like teaching. Yes, there are many frameworks and strategies that can be useful ways to think about teaching but the reality is, teaching in schools is really about connecting with humans and that is something that comes with uncertainty and variables that are very difficult to control.

My current role with ALP includes a continued pursuit of building and creating community. It’s always a challenge to explain this to those inside the education world, let alone those outside it. I continually reflect on things that have worked for me and others. When I engage others in … Read the rest