This post is one that I am doing to model the suggestion I made through the Summer Blogging Challenge that I posted recently. I really believe that we need to model what we ask of others and I also know that is important to share some of the other great ideas and stories being shared by others through social media.
I recently found this great post by Chris Wejr through his Twitter feed about small things that can make a difference and I was absolutely moved by his story. Chris was extremely comfortable sharing how people connected with his children and went way beyond what they had to do within their normal job expectations:
These guys (the one on the left in particular) could drive on and do their job as they have been directed to do. Instead they take the 45 seconds to do their job AND make a small effort to make a big difference to my daughters. Why do they do this? I am not sure but I would assume that they want to make my daughters smile; in addition, the feeling they get from the waves and smiles from the girls probably brightens their day too.
In my own learning, it is amazing to see when people feel they have a purpose and the flexibility to go above and beyond what is expected of them. It is through this where people find true satisfaction in what they do, and you always see that the best teachers do this. I have often said that if the only thing that the teacher does in a school is teach the curriculum, they have let their kids down. There is so much to teaching than simply sharing content so we have to do our best to empower our students to become learners that lead the way.
Barry Schwartz talks about the limitations of rules and what happens when do not provide the flexibility to people to have the wisdom draw outside the lines:
Rules and incentives may improve the behavior of those who don’t care, though they won’t make them wiser. But in focusing on the people who don’t care—the targets of our rules and incentives—we miss those who do care. We miss those who want to do the right things but lack the practical wisdom to do them well. Rules and incentives won’t teach these people the moral skill and will they need. Even worse, rules can kill skill and incentives can kill will.
What I love about what Chris talks about is that this story that has nothing to do with school yet everything to do with learning is a great way to connect emotionally with people. Data is important in our work and is something that we need to continue to build upon. Still data does not move people; stories do.
So a couple of questions and thoughts from this:
How do we cultivate a culture in our schools that has teachers feeling comfortable to go beyond their job, take risks, and be innovative?
How do we create a culture where teachers feel comfortable sharing their amazing stories with a larger audience? It is important that we share them with our own school communities but I think it is powerful that we share them with a larger audience as well.
Thank you Chris for sharing this great story; we need to do this more.
If you are interested in the Barry Schwartz video on wisdom, check out the Ted Talk below: