The journey I am on with Innovator’s Mindset continuously resets my inspirational compass. This is now the third time I have read this amazing book by George Couros, yet it impacts me like it’s my first. Maybe it’s the way I am observing others this time through; reading posts and listening attentively… or simply because my eyes are literally understanding some of his words for the first time. #observe #reset
I can’t help but think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves as educators. We often think we need the answers to everything STAT, as if we are in the ER, not the classroom. Do we take time to observe? Even the ER doctor must observe, right? What if a doctor jumped right in without observing? Would we end up in surgery for a sprain that only needed wrapped? Would we find ourselves taking an antibiotic for a common cold?
Think about the first time you meet a child’s parents a mere two weeks into school at the annual Open House. What is the first thing they are compelled to ask… How is my child doing? That is a loaded question that comes with an incredible amount of responsibility. If you answer with “great”, that may mislead the parent into thinking that everything is just fine when there may be concerns. If you answer with, “okay” that opens the door to questions and a very awkward moment in front of others. Let’s not even go to “not as well as I would like” because that simply shouldn’t exist in the first couple weeks of school, right? Especially when you are the amazing teacher you hope to be which in turn should bring out the “amazingness” in every child, STAT! What is so bad about saying, let me tell you about #observeme and how that impacts both my students and myself. Why not open the door for an innovative approach that could benefit their child and remove the arrogance we embed into ourselves with the need to know everything? Observing leads to goals… isn’t that what we are searching for?
Observing can lead to amazing things, including the characteristics of an innovator’s mindset. Isn’t that why facilitating is becoming the new teaching? That is for another day… another blog! Observing will give us:
- A New Perspective: How do they solve problems without me? Do they need me and how much? If I am always posing the problem will they ever truly be able to solve it? What about a scenario? Can they see the problem themselves without me? Tossing out an idea, a skill, a concept, or event will allow me to observe their strengths and weaknesses so that I can in turn plan my next move.
- Individualized Goals: What do they need verses what do I want to give? Is learning really about a pacing chart or a map? I have students in class that were born at the same time others were crawling or even walking… all in one class! Do you know how many milestones a baby has in their first year of life? What on earth would I be doing right if I thought each of my learners were on the same “growth page”? Did one baby sit and wait for another to crawl before they were allowed or tempted to walk? Goals! Each student must have goals that are focused on their own individual growth.
- Empathy: Who are they from the inside out? How do they show this to others and what does that tell me about them? Observing a child’s reaction to a situation can speak volumes. It is a map to their life experiences. Are they able to have empathy? Are they able to infer what is happening for others in that moment? Can they truly put themselves in the other person’s shoes? THE DAY MY LIFE CHANGED: It was the day that a child showed up for school sweating profusely. To lighten the moment, I asked him, “What on earth were they serving at breakfast this morning?” He wrapped his arms around me and said, “Oh Mrs. Nan, I missed breakfast. I missed my bus this morning and had to run to school so I wouldn’t miss being with you.” Tears rolled down my face. I knew what that meant. Would his peers? Do they actually need to know or would they be able to show compassion and empathy without the tough details. As I dried my eyes, I observed one child hand him a cereal bar that she had brought for her snack that day. WOW-heart in my feet… this my friends, is why I teach! This is what will make them the best they can be! This is what opens doors to their minds and to learning. This will always be the day that I knew I was helping “to create a school where students, staff, and parents are beating down the doors to get in… not out“. Thank you Beth Houf and Shelley Burgess for helping me to Lead Like a Pirate!
- Habits of Learning: Who do they network with? How? What foundation do they come with? Do they have T.R.U.E. G.R.I.T. ? Do they attempt to work alone? Do they use the 4 C’s… Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Creativity?
I am observant. I notice… the smallest details. The big impact. The positive. The mindset of all! My journey continues and by observing I WILL LEARN… not for a moment, a day, or a week. I will learn for a lifetime! #ObserveMe