There was about 100 educators in front of me, and we were talking about challenging things that we are used to in schools.
I asked them, “How many of you like doing icebreaker activities during staff meetings?”
Three hands went up.
Out of 100.
Knowing ahead of time when I asked the question, that there were not be a jockeying for position because so many hands would be raised sharing their undying love for this practice that happens in so many schools, I then asked them, “so why do so many schools still do them?”
I remember Bruce Dixon once saying, “There is no profession in the world that you watch someone do your job for sixteen years before you do it.” We have become so ingrained with certain thoughts and dispositions after years of experiencing something as a participant that we often just accept “what is”, as opposed to questioning it. When teachers become principals, they often make time for that “ice breaker” activity because that was what they saw their former principals do. If you didn’t like them as a teacher, why would you do this others when you become a principal?
Here’s the thing…You do not need to teach the way you were taught, and you certainly do not need to lead the way you were led.
Do not accept what has always been done is what you will always do.
The biggest barrier to change is often our own thinking. As individuals, we need to change that.
Yes, icebreakers might be good for people and teams because it pushes them out of their comfort zones, but for some people (myself included), it pushes them out of the room (or makes them start contemplating escape routes).
Is this the best way to build team and camaraderie in our buildings?
Are there other ways?
Have we even asked the question?
As mentioned in earlier posts, this is all about having the “innovator’s mindset”. We need to start asking questions and looking at things with fresh eyes. It is not only about thinking outside of the box, but thinking differently inside of it.