Tuesday, July 19, 2022

What Would Be Amazing?

This past spring, I asked if I could change my focus in the district where I work. For 14 years I served as the instructional tech coordinator. I wanted to emphasize instruction more, regardless whether tech was involved. I was glad to find the district administrators were open to the change.

So as I've been planning instructional coaching meetings with individuals, this question came to mind:  What would be amazing?

I have spent most of my career with "doing something amazing" as my end goal. But I learned that everyone in education has slightly to drastically different ideas of what "amazing" would look like.

What are some things that would happen in your district that would catch your attention as amazing? What would happen in your classroom that would make you say, "Wow"? What could your students do that would be labeled amazing?

I want to start conversations with that question. I want to learn if those amazing things they tell me would be done by the teacher I'm meeting with, by their principals, or by the students. Would other people think they're amazing? Would I think they're amazing?

Whatever the answer is, it won't be as important as what it reveals. Such an answer speaks volumes about things like:

  • What does quality work look like?
  • Who's responsible to make amazing things happen?
  • Who has to (or we think has to) do their part before we will move to do ours?
  • What really matters in the job we do every day?
For example, I worked with one teacher who dreamed up an impressive project last year when I challenged her to do something amazing. I fully expected to do all the dreaming myself, but she did research and came up with something that inspired another teacher from another district to do something similar

On the other hand, I've talked with some teachers over the years who imagine an amazing day as a classroom full of compliant students. Or maybe a test where everyone gets a high score. I'm not saying those aren't amazing things, but I'm saying a person's answer to the question speaks volumes about our starting place. 

If we don't ask, and if we don't identify these big differences in expectations, we very likely will assume we're all trying to get to the same place. We'll likely be upset with how poorly one thing is going, when others think everything is great.

So part of my reflection time this summer has been spent answering that question for myself. What would be an amazing result in the first weeks of my new position? What will be amazing at the end of first semester? Or the school year? 

Give it a try and see what list you come up with. Share it with your colleagues, and have them answer it too.

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