Saturday, September 26, 2015

It's Not You, It's Me

There is an enormous amount of great information available online.  I am continually being validated, challenged, and/or provoked by other professionals.   I appreciate others' insight and wisdom.  It is important that we continue to share the joys and challenges of student and adult learning.  

There is nothing better than a passionate discussion with a variety of professional perspectives and opinions. Regardless, of how strongly I feel about the topic at hand, I always walk away with something I had not thought of, need to learn more about, or need to reconsider.  

A few days ago I read Employers' Challenge To Educators: Make School Relevant To Students' Lives (+MindShift).  After reading the article I perused the comments to that continue the conversation and can provide additional insights to the topic.  I was taken aback by many of the postings. So much so that I returned to the article and reread it (more than once).  Still I could not see what brought on the defensive/attack-like comments.  

Granted, we all interpret through our personal lens, and online discussions are not the best for understanding the person behind the comments.  However, I have experienced this throughout my career; defensiveness over self-reflection.  

Educators seem to make the worst students.  We tend to be very defensive and to deflect from ourselves, our practices, and/or our system, whenever there are recommendations for improvement.   Too often we are preoccupied with proving "It's not me/us" that we perceive blame where none was intended, and we miss an opportunity to learn from others.  As the world is ever-changing so must we change and adapt to it.  

It is rarely about the wrong or right we make it into (teacher vs. administrator, education vs. business, K-12 vs. higher education, educators vs. parents, content vs. skills, etc.).  As we know better we do better.  It is our reality that what is right today, may be wrong tomorrow, and right again next week!

We must listen and reflect on what our community--students, parents, employers, employees, etc.--have to say about their needs.  We are the beginning not the end of the process. When we allow the discussion to become about us, it is no longer about students and learning.  Regardless of where the divisiveness originated we are obligated to overcome it; to listen, be open, and willing to consider there may be a better way.

Immediately dismissing another's input is reciprocal and diminishes our mission and the profession.  

I wonder how differently things would be if we started with this premise? "It's not you, it's me." Regardless of the answer, by examining our own thoughts, behaviors, habits, and practices, I believe something valuable will be discovered by the process. That discovery will help everyone in the community move forward--together!