Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Asking: My Goal for the Year #reflectiveteacher Day 1

Thankfully, addiction has never been something I've struggled with, well - until I became a connected educator.  I've always known that I was a "people person" and I grew up having others comment on my "outgoing personality" and "extroverted tendencies."  However, this past year I've come to realize that I'm pretty much addicted to a certain type of human being and no matter how hard I try, I just can't kick it.  Since I've never been addicted to anything other than energetic, passionate, forward-thinking, exhausting, inspiring, thoughtful educators, I guess I shouldn't complain but every now and then, these "friends" of mine, can get me in some real trouble.  Enter Kenneth Durham, also known as the famous @PrincipalDurham.

Durham and I are only one month shy of our one year anniversary of being official #edubuddies (I wonder if he has a gift picked out for me yet?) but in that year, we've supported each other through a number of every day admin duties and roles.  Whether I've needed a reminder to get out of my office, had a question about discipline, or just needed a good laugh about life as an administrator, Durham has been a pretty solid source.  And that's where I find myself in trouble. 

In a recent Voxer chat, Durham posed the question to our group asking if we were going to participate in the "Reflective Teaching: 30 Day Blogging Challenge for Teachers."  Now let's just be honest, who has time for one more challenge, daily duty, blah blah blah right?! Clicking the link to the blogging challenge was my first mistake. Don't do it....I'm serious, don't do it. But now it's too late. I read the challenge, I read Durham's post about "service" and I got all "Fadeji" on myself. The thing I like about this challenge is to me, it feels more about accountability and responsibility, rather than just another item on my checklist.  I should be reflective and I should be reflective daily. In a way, I'm sure I am, but for me, right now, I think some intentionality behind my reflection with the support of some of my closest #edubuddies feels pretty darn good. 

So what is my goal for the year? Asking. This year, my goal is to ask more questions.  I plan to ask easy questions, hard questions, silly questions, and deep questions.  I want to ask all kinds of things to my students, our staff, and the larger community that I serve. Asking means I'll be doing a lot of listening and we all could use a little more of that in our lives.  

I bought a shirt yesterday that says, "Take less. Give more." It's funny, I was in a rush and bought the shirt thinking it said, "Talk less. Give more." I was pretty pumped to wear it to a staff meeting and challenge our teachers to do just that but once I took it out of the bag, I realized that I liked "Take less. Give more" a whole lot better any way. If I could add another line, I might add, "Ask hard." This year, I'm going to think harder about asking questions.  We'll see how it goes. I did a little exercise with a colleague last week thanks to the coaching of Liz Wiseman, author of The Multiplier Effect.  My colleague and I had to converse for FOUR minutes and Partner A could ONLY ask questions of Partner B.  It was hard! Level two was asking deeper, more meaningful questions, and let me just tell you, "asking" is an art to be practiced! 

As I wrap this up, I'm looking forward to all bonuses that will come with asking questions this year.  Hopefully, I will know a lot more about the things and people around me. With luck, I'll feel be even more connected to our thriving school culture. I'll have a lot more answers when people need to ask me questions. And finally, I'll be doing a lot of listening and reflecting along the way. Perhaps I'll even Talk less. Take less. Give More. And Ask Hard. 


  1. You know exactly how to pick a fella up after a hard day. Thank you my friend for lifting my spirits and the smile. You rock, and I better get to work on that present :-)

  2. Seriously, I don't take presents lightly. You have a month and 21 days. :) JK. Glad you enjoyed. You push me to be better than I could ever be alone. Thanks Durham.

  3. Excellent post! I love 'take less, give more' - excellent philosophy.

    1. Thanks Rae! :) I want to wear that shirt every day.