It’s not hard to make decisions once you know what your values are.
Roy E. Disney
So proud that our staff is a curious staff. Yes, we talk pedagogic ideals, share lessons, and offer advice on supporting learners and connecting effectively with families when. But most often, we just listen. Ask a lot of questions. We get curious. What is our role? How do we continue to evolve and still stay true to the roots of the school? How do we collectively work to maintain its ethos as the student body grows and new staff come into the fold.
But what we seem to be REALLY curious about is how we show up in our classrooms; how we show up through modeling and creating spaces for vulnerability in our building. Now I don’t come by this realization easily. In fact, I thought that I was the only person (besides my The Daring Way trained wife) that had even heard of Brene Brown, vulnerability, rumbling, and reckoning when it comes to working with kids.
Yeah, pretty naive, huh?
Of Brown’s seven or eight books most of our staff has read at least one of her titles. As a staff of ten educators and five support members those are pretty good gambling odds.
Early last month, week spent two full days away from school, our families, and our responsibilities to explore and get curious about our . What does it mean to be an educator, learner, and family member of this particular learning community? What are the priorities of the school?
Still more questions.
A group of new and returning parents spent one of the mornings with us sharing their insights and experiences. Asking questions. Reaffirming our current practices. Questioning still others. I so appreciated their candor and honesty as they reflected our strengths and challenges back at us. Much to be proud of and much to ponder.
The afternoon of our first day was consumed with our facilitated book club discussion of Brown’s, Dare To Lead. I have written many times on the blog about Brown and how her work has influenced both my personal and professional life. It was powerful to see how collectively we resonated with her work and its application to our work as the school grows and evolves. There is much apprehension about the growth. That’s vulnerability and that’s also forcing us to get curious in a very intimate way. For the record, most school staffs do not have these kinds of honest and vulnerable conversations. It is for this sole reason that I consider myself very fortunate.
The work for the day? Elucidating core values of our organization. What do we value above all else? How do we show up at the building every day? Interacting honestly, respectfully, and purposefully with each other and our learners. To start, each staff member was tasked with narrowing down their two core or central values. Yes, two. Not eight. Or even four. Two. A herculean task to say the least. The exercise consumed the majority of our facilitated time, but it was an essential process. At the end of the session we each shared our pair of core values and explained why. Afterwards, one could feel a palpable shift in the energy in the room. We were being vulnerable with each other. We sharing a deep part of how we tick. Asking for others to help to hold us accountable to these values in times of what Brown terms The Rumble and The Reckoning.
Next up for our team? As a staff, we now need to move forwards and identify the two core values for, yes…our school. Our next facilitated session looks to be potentially impacting and defining for the direction or our quickly growing school.