Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Don't Forget Your Place!!!!

Two things happened to me in the last week that made me connect learning to actual behavior.

In the book above Anthony Muhammad describes characteristics of staff within a school and the process of how to identify, understand, and support all members.  From the review on Google Books there are four types of staff members in a school:

The Believers are those who are committed to the learning of each student and who operate under the assumption that their efforts can make an enormous difference in that learning.
The Fundamentalists are preservers of the status quo.
The Tweeners are members of a staff who are typically new to a school and are attempting to learn its prevailing culture.
The Survivors are those who have been so overwhelmed by the stress and demands of the profession that their primary goal becomes making it through the day, the week, and the year.

Where this connects is to an e-mail I received today.  

I sent out a school wide e-mail advertising an upcoming conference and this is the response I received:

I was caught off guard and angry.  (as an aside: I have not really worked with this colleague of mine and run into them at an occasional faculty meeting.  I've been working at my school for seven years and have been seeking an administrative position for at least four years.)

I am not sure what I did to deserve this e-mail response but it happened.  As the overachiever I am, anything I run across I seek to find ways to understand.  I could play this off as just an ignorant (lacking knowledge) staff member but I refuse to think it's just that.  It must go back to culture of the building and the understanding of how this person must view and interact with the building.

Having the knowledge I have based on the insight from the book above I came to the conclusion that this teacher is a "fundamentalist."  I am not sure what prompted the e-mail but I seem to have struck a nerve about my desire to learn in grow in my profession by attending a conference.  

I am a "Believer."  I know that, for better or for worse, what I do every day makes a difference for one or more students.  I will have a face to face with this person, I hope we can overcome this and rebuild the bridge to transform our school culture.


  1. I was talking to my youth today about being more like Christ. I explained to them that while Jesus loved everyone, many didn't love him back. The truth is if you don't have haters, you aren't doing anything worthwhile. Wear it like a badge of honor (not that we believe in badges or anything ;)

  2. What a great point Bill! You have amazing passion and ambition Chris! Don't let anyone stop you!

  3. Know your place? Well I believe (and based on what I’ve read on your blog I think you do too) that the role of educator today calls for inspirational and distributed leadership - one that is not defined by title or position.

    The whole point of an edcamp is to explore educational issues/topics not as a goal but as a process of engagement around moral purpose and identity. if you can find me an "office" that has this as a mandate, let me know 'cause I'd love to work there!

    Chris, one piece of advice only: leadership and teaching are not so much about easing people into knowing something they don’t know, but about challenging them to notice in ways they might not have noticed.

    Your place? Right here, right now, sharing with all of us.

  4. Keep on pushing positive growth, learning and change. Life wears us down as we pass through and it's important to take notice of the friction points. You can avoid them or work to change their surface, as well as what's below.

  5. Chris,
    I really appreciate you sharing with your staff about Edcamp KC. If no one shared, it'd just be me standing around by myself on November 5th. :) We can speculate all day long about the reason for that response. I don't know how you replied, if you replied at all. It doesn't matter. What I am focusing on is that you took the time to share and hopefully get some folks interested in a different, yet rewarding way of learning with their peers. It doesn't matter if they come to KC, St. Louis, or wherever. Don't let one bring you down. If just one other person decides to try this new thing called an edcamp and branch out in their thinking about best practices, you won. :) See you soon!

  6. Thank heavens for the believers--sometimes I think there are very few of us left! I often wonder if others have never had a connection with a student that let them know how it feels to make a difference. Or if they've never learned something new that they wanted to share with students. Do they ever get excited about anything? Hmmm. Questions to ponder.

    ( I stumbled onto your blog through Twitter, but I will definitely be back.)