It’s back to school TIME! YAYZERS! Such an exciting time of the year for me!
Over the past couple of weeks, we have been welcoming and supporting new staff in our district. I love this time of the year because the new employees bring so much to the company; their enthusiasm is absolutely contagious. After visiting with several new hires, I noticed that while they are burning with desire to dive in they seem to have this fear of failure or lack of confidence lurking in the back of their mind. It’s interesting because the individuals are incredibly talented with exceptional strengths to bring to the dynamics of the system. So, why does this happen?
What makes one feel insufficient to highlight their individuality?
Why does doubt creep in and threaten to steal one’s confidence?
At what point do we take control over our thoughts and remind the doubt that we got this job because we are fully capable of performing it?
As a mentor to new employees and a mentor to other mentors, my role is to equip those I have the honor to work with to be successful. Building leadership capacity within the educational system and individuals is my primary focus. To do this, I like to share the “Own It Factor” with them.
Recently while meeting with the Teaching and Learning team we were discussing the levels of support for the new learning coaches. Some were suggesting they have an experienced learning coach with them as they greet the novice teachers in their schools. While that seems supportive, in all actuality it might send off a negative first impression. The novice might perceive the new learning coach as not prepared to do their job. It also sends a mixed message that there are two coaches and makes one wonder which one is best to contact for assistance? First impressions are vital, and you have one shot at it. I immediately saw this as a set up for failure and said, “Let’s prepare the new coaches with all of the resources, support, what-ifs, and tools they might need to make their first impression on the novice teachers.” Then, I addressed the new coaches in the room, “Friends, YOU will step up and OWN your role that day. Will we be around to support any answers you might need? Yes. Will you be the novice teachers’ first line of defense at the onset? Yes. Our district administration hired you because they thought you were pretty doggone amazing, now OWN IT! Own your role! You’ve got this, and we’ve got your back.” This is a motto I use to encourage anyone in a new position, dive in and OWN IT!
Sometimes we as humans want to provide too much assistance. Our intent is pure, but this disillusion of “supporting” others is disabling.
Over the past few weeks, I have been heavily involved in designing a personalized learning professional development induction for new staff. We held our four-day induction this week and took our first stab at using this approach for delivery of the new hire content. After implementation, it overwhelmingly received positive reports. Why? Because adults had voice and choice in HOW they owned their learning. In fact, based on the feedback, the ones that seemed to struggle with the personalized learning approach wanted a checklist or prescription for not only what knowledge to gain but exactly how to achieve it. I understand the need for balance, but honestly, are we creating a dependent generation or are we charging innovators to OWN their approach to new curious combinations of information? Geeeze, I sure hope it’s the latter.
I immediately began to consider the students. Do we force them to follow a prescription and ignore their creative approach to the learning outcome? Or, do we enable them to own their learning and create unique experiences while gaining the necessary knowledge? In what ways might we encourage students to possess the Own It Factor this school year? How might we provide the support they need but step back and let them drive their experience?
As we enter this new 2016-2017 school year, let’s help those we lead, let them know we are available, then, step back and charge them to OWN IT.
If you’re an administrator, empower your employees.
If you’re a learning coach or a mentor, empower the novice educator.
If you’re a teacher, empower the students.
When we move out of the way and allow the one we are guiding to own it, they begin to rely on their individual strengths to reach new heights. It’s the same for students. We are all equipped with unique talents, and the more we use them, the better we perform. Share the Own It Factor this school year; it’s powerful.
REAL feedback from our Personalized Learning PD at Induction 2016-2017