And Now It’s Personal #MakeSchoolDifferent

Posted: 3rd May 2015 by kkeerybi in Uncategorized

Just when you think you are doing well – reflecting and learning, maintaining transparency to be accountable to your learning – someone comes along and calls you out.  Just last week I posted a blog called Make School Different, in response to a challenge issued to me by Aviva Dunsiger (@avivaloca).  You can see that post Make School Different .

I loved reading all of the other blogs in the series.  I found myself nodding and agreeing, sometimes questioning, and reflecting on our collective practices.  Then Doug Peterson (@dougpete) came out with this blog post:  What a Difference a Word Can Make , reminding us that collective change and thought is all well and good, but personal reflection needs to go deeper.  That’s when Doug (and his dog) challenged us to go back and reflect on how we would individually, rather than collectively, change to make school different.

Thanks, Doug, and your little dog too, for making this personal.

Not one to back down from a challenge, I decided to stick with my original list and reflect on how I would make it personal.  Here goes.

When it comes to education, we have to stop pretending… that we have all the answers.  I know I don’t have all of the answers, but I sometimes jump to conclusions or responses without waiting to learn the thinking behind all of the perspectives.  I need to make sure I am listening and considering everyone.

When it comes to education, we have to stop pretending… that time is a barrier. I will admit it, I do not have enough time.  Ever.  For anything.  I am always rushing away and leaving things undone and this leads me to guilt – mom guilt, wife guilt, employee guilt, administrator guilt.  I’m a mess that way.  I’m working on it, but making decisions about what gets left undone is hard.  I make hard decisions about what can wait, but I still feel guilty about that.

When it comes to education, we have to stop pretending… that things are good enough. This one is tough.  I want to keep growing and changing and I want others to grow and change, but I know I need to balance the expectation of growth with celebration of progress so that it doesn’t sound critical.  This will always be a balancing act, I think.  Learning how to read people, build trusting relationships and offering support along the way helps.

When it comes to education, we have to stop pretending… that the learning comes first. Before this position I was a curriculum consultant.  My job WAS the learning.  As an administrator, I’ve had to unhinge my blinders and remember all of the other components that make up a learner.  Sometimes I need reminders, but I think I am getting better at this.  I am particularly proud of the fact that I have focused my attentions this year on creating positive school culture/climate.  I’ve learned a lot about it.  I still have more learning to do.

When it comes to education, we have to stop pretending… that the best way to measure learning is with a mark.  I do believe this – students are more than the marks we give them.  I need to help teachers find those alternatives and give them the learning time and practise to reflect on this if it is a priority for me.  I need to think about this one more – it’s one thing to say it, it is quite another to do it and to expect others to do it.

Well, that’s my transparent, personal take on making school different.  The other thing I have done, and I challenge others to do, is to take a look at others’ posts about this topic and figure out what on each list is something I need to do more of.  There isn’t a list out there that I’ve found that hasn’t given me things to improve on.

Thanks Doug, Doug’s dog, and Aviva for pushing to make this personal. It is hard, but cathartic, and helps me see next steps for my own learning and practice.

  1. Aviva says:

    Kristi, I love this post, and your willingness to go back and make it personal. I particularly love how you looked back at your initial list and thought about how you can grow and change in all of these areas. I think that by making it personal, we show that we all have next steps, and hopefully, we can address some of them together. I’m very glad that Doug and his dog thought of this updated challenge. I hope others try it too!


  2. dougpete says:

    Lovely post, Kristi. As Jaimie pointed out, moving from the “we” to the “I” isn’t always an easy task. You have done it very nicely. With the “we”, it becomes a situation of identifying things that we don’t necessarily have a chance to control. When you turn it to “I”, it certainly becomes possible in your own reach. It make he think of Joel Baker and The Star Thrower. which I’ve always considered to be a highly motivating story for me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts; going this public with “I” isn’t easy.

  3. Sue Dunlop says:

    Kristi, I particularly like #4. Being a school principal or vice principal is a very hard job with so many facets to consider. And we all work from our strength, which is a good thing. But when we tackle areas that we really aren’t comfortable with, growth can happen.