Monday, September 28, 2015

When Paths Converge

With the Jedi Master himself!



This past week I was one of an incredibly lucky group of Administrators who had the great fortune to attend the inaugural CUE RockStar Admin Camp.  For three glorious days, we escaped our offices and converged on Skywalker Big Rock Ranch in Marin.


While here we engaged in conversations that made our heads hurt by the end of the day, but also left us wanting more.  Underlying our three days was the idea of the Hero's Journey.   Here is a great video to explain this concept:




While we were exhausted on Saturday, it was still a bit hard to leave, at least for me, because I knew that I needed more time to process all that I had taken in during that short time.

Simultaneously I began reading Switch.  As I am trying to digest and organize all that I took away with me from RockStar Camp, I was struck by the appropriateness of my current reading selection.  Eric Saibel was one of my Yoda's at RockStar,  and I took much away from his sessions on building culture.  Where his work with us intersected with the ideas that I have begun to reflect on from Switch is where my new starting point will be for my work at our school.  I put together this simple visual to help me with the process of synthesizing the many ideas from RockStar:



The quote from Switch really struck me as I was revisiting my notes from RockStar.  And suddenly my big take-away was crystal clear:  change has slowed at our school not because people don't want to implement change, but rather, because they are so tired that they have no energy left to dedicate to creativity.  According to Heath and Heath, self-control is exhausting--this ties in with what Eric was trying to convey: we need to have room for dissonance and we need to learn to work with that dissonance for positive outcomes.  If people don't feel they can disagree, they have to then exercise a whole lot of self-control.  The more self-control they must maintain, the more exhausted they become.  And once they reach that point of exhaustion, their mental capacity for creativity is gone and thus change can't happen.  And this realization provided the clear link for me between all of my sessions at RockStar--everything from engaging adults through the 4C's to asking for feedback to sparking curiosity to building engaging presentations.  My task this year is to find more "space" for our adults so that they can process, they can feel comfortable pushing back, and we can then move forward together.

Image Credit
Change is a constant in our lives now.  So much so that I really dislike the term when applied to new innovations in education.  We as educators must recognize the need to be agile and constantly accept that adjustments are just par for the course.  David Culberhouse wrote a great blog post on the concept of agility that I find very appropriate.  And thus, again, the need for "space" so that we as adults are able to reflect on "what's next" and engage in meaningful dialogue to ultimately move to a new place of action.

White space isn't the only idea that I took away from RockStar, but I think that this is the critical starting point for our community.  I look forward to finding ways to provide space for our community to engage in honest conversations, healthy conflict, and ultimately creative collaboration.

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