Sunday, September 15, 2013

Good -v- Growth

A couple of weeks ago I was sent a link to the Incomplete Manifest for Growth by our R&D Coordinator, Scot Hoffman.  I've looked at this over and over again during the past couple of weeks, and each time I come back to another point to mull over.  Today I'm thinking about 2 of these.

Last week I had a great chat about my professional growth.  I realize that I set myself very high standards and that I get discouraged if I can't reach them.  However I also know that I'd rather set high standards and face possible disappointment, than set low ones that I know I can achieve easily.  I like to be challenged and I know it's a mistake to be in a place where growth is seen as a threat to the status quo, which is why I'm so happy to have found a school with a growth mindset, where we can prototype and where mistakes are seen as learning experiences.

At a previous school there was a lot of talk about the Jim Collins book "Good to Great".  When I read it I thought it was a rather outdated business model and not that applicable to schools.  To be frank, I got sick of hearing discussions about getting the right people onto the right seats of the bus, in a place where I was convinced that the bus was going to the wrong destination with the wrong driver. However one thing that I did agree with was that you cannot settle for good - or good enough - which on reflection now I know was what was making me so unhappy.

The things I'm thinking about from the Incomplete Manifesto for Growth are these:  forget about good and allow events to change you.
Forget about good:  good is a known quantity .  Good is what we all agree on.  Growth is not necessarily good.  Growth is an exploration of unlit recesses that may or may not yield to our research.  As long as you stick to good you'll never have real growth.
Allow events to change you:  you have to be willing to grow.  Growth is different from something that happens to you.  You produce it.  You live it.   The prerequisites for growth:  the openness to experience event and the willingness to be changed by them.
 For me, I think good is like the low bar, the one that I don't want to set as my goal.  The truth is that going for a high bar is not easy, and that before you do eventually reach it you will fail many times.  I suppose the secret is to not allow people to treat you as failures, not allow it to affect your self-esteem.  As teachers I think it is our job to stretch ourselves and our students - to aim a little further than we currently think we are able to reach.  To be open to the bad experiences as well as the good, and to learn from the bad and to grow from that learning and to make decisions to move on and flourish in new directions.

No comments:

Post a Comment