Just embrace it...what is IT? It could be any number of things that get thrown at us on any given day. I am learning to just roll with IT. Not fight IT. Embrace IT.
One thing that I have definitely bought in to and would like to bring to others is the idea of an "open culture". What does this mean? To me, it means that WE are open to sharing and learning with and from others. This just seems natural to me, but I guess for others, it's not. I try to create opportunities and a safe space for others. I hope that I am creating an "open culture" where others feel comfortable to connect, learn, share and grow. This is one of my professional goals. How am I doing?
We ask our students to be collaborative (or at least I hope we do), but are we, as educators doing the same? I hope so, I really do. If I have learned nothing else, it is the fact that we all are truly better together. It is lonely and hard trying to do things on our own. We CAN do hard things...together. Why not ask for help, support? Wouldn't we give it to others? Why wouldn't we receive it?
I think there are a few roadblocks, as with everything, that hold people back from this notion of an "open culture":
"I have nothing to contribute": I have been that person, hiding in the back of staff meetings, quiet, reserved. I didn't believe my ideas were worth sharing (for 12 years!). Why would anyone want to hear from me? Luckily, someone helped me do a "switch flip" and showed me that there may be value in what I had to say. I became more of a risk taker-sharing my ideas. It does still take me awhile to "warm up" to new people, to share; but with time and confidence, I have grown in this area.
Now I try to BE that "switch flipper". I try to connect others and I encourage them to share and share freely. I love when someone comes up with an idea and they share it forward. I love it even more, to watch that idea grow, morph and become something else. To me, this is the magic of innovation. This is the magic of having an "open culture"...a place where one feels safe. Where ideas are valued. Where we don't shut each other down for differences, but we empathize, celebrate and expand on those differences.
EGO: This darn thing always gets in the way! There are some people who believe that an idea is THEIRS and it is not to be shared. They believe that they are the "keeper" of things and no one can step into their ring. They put up barriers and project their thorns out. This kind of behavior makes me sad. I feel bad for people who have locked themselves up in ivory towers. They are not only limiting themselves, they are limiting others that could learn from them. The hope is, with time, encouragement, empathy, modeling...a bridge can be built. It would be better for all. For those who like to be on an island...I do try to throw them a life saver (a lot of life savers) but often, they don't take it. So I try to help those that will take my help...who want to change, but just need a bit of assistance ( a friendly nudge).
I have said before, we need to be the mirrors for others, they often can not see themselves the way we see them. They often need an outsider to reflect back to them- so they can see their amazingness. I love this quote from the song "Scars to Beautiful"- "...let me be your mirror, help you see a little bit clearer, the light that shines within."
When we create an "open culture", one where we feel comfortable, feel valued-we can open up that world for others. Once others begin to see that they DO shine, that THEY have that spark...they begin to reflect for others, show the shine within THEM. It is contagious...it is the kind of positive contagious that we need. But it can only happen if we are open and embrace IT.
Mother, teacher, TOSA, GCE Level 1 & 2, Encourager of others.
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