You know some things are just out of your control-they just happen upon you, or do they? Are we subjective to the circumstance or the environment or do we choose it? I find myself in a quite sticky situation. Without revealing family details, I have been gifted this young man. In the midst of taking this unexpected joy on, I find myself in constant turmoil with another whom has fallen to the depths of drugs, meth-the thief of souls. Do I choose the chaos and vague threats or are they thrust upon me by the demons of meth? I continue to deal with it when what I want is for this person to stop-just stop and choose your children instead of tormenting me and others for taking on the responsibilities of raising your children, just stop-stop using the drugs, stop threatening, stop dealing, stop interfering-just stop. Let the kids recover from the clenches of Meth-let them heal and stop-just stop causing grief to those that are attempting to help. Are we choosing this chaos or are we just victims of the situation?
“Aint I a Woman”
Imagine it is 1863. Beaten, sold, raped, separated, starved, and controlled, yet still strong enough to overcome all odds to speak as a black woman to an audience of white men and women about the necessity of equality for women and slaves-that is SoJourner Truth, and she is without a doubt someone that I aspire to model my actions after. I do not mean this because she spoke passionately about the equality of all humans (which is still powerful in itself). I aspire to be her reflection because in the midst of uncertainty and against all odds through her words she was able to inspire and motivate a world and it wasn’t just in 1863.
It was before that as she worked to become free. IT was when she won a civil rights suit to have her son that was sold into slavery returned to her after New York had abolished slavery. It was even after 1863 as she continued to motivate and overcome the negativity that her environment continually engulfed her in-she didn’t cave Here we are in 2013, and people still recognize who she is–she came from nothing. She came from being someone’s property-and she emerged from all of the fallout as a person powerful enough to move people 150 years later. I aspire to be like her and to model my own values after her leadership skills because she motivated change and her words are still influential today.
I admire her qualities because despite being seen as inferior in race and gender, she still became and did what she wanted to do. Religion and ministry should have been outside of her grasp, but she didn’t let that stop her-she did it anyway because she felt in her heart that she needed to-no one else’s judgment prevented her from achieving her own dreams and ambitions. SoJourner Truth was a woman that led from her heart for the good of humanity, and I wish to follow in her footsteps and remind all of those after me that the power lies within-and it is up to us to break through and beyond any barriers established in front of us.
“Enrollment is the art and practice of generating a spark of possibility for others to share.” What a wonderful quote! I’ve discovered several inspiring quotes associated with The Art of Possibility that I want to print and hang in my office. “Remember Rule #6″ will certainly be one of them.
My new role as department coordinator at my school will include working with teachers on everything from scheduling events to curriculum implementation. While I thoroughly enjoyed all four chapters from this week’s reading assignment, chapters nine and twelve really spoke to me. I will make a concerted effort to encourage and support my colleagues, assisting them however possible in realizing their full potential, Ultimately, our students and our school stand to reap the benefits of this newly developed framework.
“It is about playing together as partners in a field of light… offer that which lights you up… have no doubt that others are eager to catch the spark.”
It’s exciting to imagine the possibilities of working in an environment where everyone is enrolled as a partner in our “field of light.” I’m also looking forward to returning to work next month and sharing all of this information – information from The Art of Possibility, Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford commencement speech and his inspirational “connecting the dots” concept. I’m sure my colleagues will be eager to catch the spark and begin the school year enthusiastically and optimistically. Just as Eastlea student Anthony rejoiced in conducting the Philharmonia in the finale of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, so too shall our students pursue and celebrate their potential.
Being the Board
I can recall several instances where I’ve blamed someone else for problems I’ve experienced and held onto that blame far longer than I should have. Had I only named myself the board and assumed responsibility in those instances, I may have transformed those experiences into more positive and productive ones.
I worked at a school that went through a difficult period in which the administration was removed for their inappropriate actions related to state-wide testing and financial discrepancies. Consequently, our school’s reputation was tarnished and moral hit an all-time low. I remember feeling angry and miserable.
My beleaguered colleagues and I soon came to realize that we were being blamed for the problems at our school, blamed by the local media and, subsequently, parents and community members. Really?! This was our fault!? We desperately needed to name ourselves the board and change our experience. Sadly, the administrative team hired to ostensibly “clean up the mess” we teachers had made took the position that it was “their way or the highway.” To date, nearly the entire faculty has chosen the highway.
“It is about playing together as partners in a field of light… offer that which lights you up… have no doubt that others are eager to catch the spark.”
I really like this! I plan on sharing this philosophy with my colleagues in hopes of enrolling them all as partners. Perhaps a new slogan like “it’s our way along this lighted highway”… hmmm… maybe I’ll just focus on enrollment and leave the slogan creating job for someone else.
I have to comment on your response to becoming the board in the school situation. When I read this section of the book, I missed the connection to the idea that being the board meant not only to accept responsibility but become aware of the possibility and create change to address the movement of the pieces of the board-I completely missed that connection or didn’t hang onto it long enough, so when I read your post, I had one of those “oohhhhhh” moments, and I wanted to tell you that your insight opened my eyes to an additional point the author was making with this chess or checker board metaphor. With that said, did the change come from the maneuvering around the board by leaving school or did teachers and administrators prior to this point come to an understanding of how the school ended up as it did? I love the looking back to connect one’s dot concept too…often we look forward to see where we are going and forget to reflect to see what got us there to begin with. What is also interesting that Steve Job’s may have never even read this book, yet he managed to also generated enthusiasm for many of us because we have “caught the spark.” Interesting how things look different after reading this book-
Mark Chacon’s Original Post:
Chapter 11 Creating Framework for Possibility
This chapter had the most affect on my current situation in life. I enjoyed the story about the students who visited Brazil and were a little rowdy in their behavior and how the author handled the situation. The Sao Paolo story was a great example of how to get the most out of our youth through transfer of responsibility to themselves. The talk given by the author resulted in a greater understanding of what it was to be an ambassador of music and leaders. I feel that as a teacher and a parent you are constantly trying to figure out how best to handle teenager’s behavior so they can reflect on their actions and grow.
Although I am not a religious individual I do believe that we all need guidance at varying times and the quote by Marianne Williamson addressed by Nelson Mandela is a great message to pass on to everyone.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate,
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We as ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented
Actually, who are we not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people
Won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some of us: it is in everyone
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously
Give other people permission to do the same.
The section on Mission Statement versus Vision statement was also well articulated, I think the distinction between business-oriented goals and life goals are what separate the two. We might need to revisit our school mission statement.
The book The Art of Possibility by Zander and Zander is a book that gave me much to think about when it comes to how I am living my life and how I affect those around me. I would recommend the book to those individuals who need a timeout to evaluate their current situations.
Although I don’t mention the vision vs. mission statement in my blog, I definitely agree that is a concept that our educational systems need to re-evaluate. When you then add into the system the punishment component of education, is the mission statement truly relevant as it is written now-for any district? It just really makes you consider the goal and direction we are pushing forward onto the future leaders. However, should we completely discard discipline because of the association with the idea that one has the power over another or is there still some separation between punishment and consequence?
I definitely agree with the fact that this book has definitely raised some awareness regarding the way I interpret things, and it has even analyze our school environment with new possibilities-maybe those meetings won’t be so dreary this coming school year.
As I have sat here staring at a blank screen for a couple of hours struggling on how to begin, where to connect to, determining what message should be expressed, it has hit me-quite literally staring right back at me…the blank page. I know you are probably wondering what meds I am on, but seriously, these chapters are metaphorically represented by my blank page. You see this document, this blog, was once blank, empty-initially, there were no limitations, there were no measurements. This page, this blog is my chess board, and it is wide open to a plethora of possibilities and it happened to have been clear of any obstacles or hindrances that could have impeded what is written. Better yet, it carries no baggage, no regrets, no vengeance, no expectations-other than what I determine is essential-what I realize I need to do in order to connect-not just with the assignment, but to connect intrinsically with the “art of possibility.” Now, as the words have emerged, I can battle with the letters or create something fluid and editable because there is no battle to conquer-no competition to prepare. However, although this was an epiphany, it isn’t the only realization or thought I have had since reading these chapters-I have been enveloped by ideas, contradictions, questions.
For example, these last four chapters kept prompting a connection within me to the first four chapters-perception and seeing new perspectives where blame is not a reality, only a minor obstacle that can be altered based on one’s choice, one’s power of choice and realization. Giving the “A” is how you tell the “WE” story, how to create a framework of possibility, how to become the board, and how to light the spark-it is all connected, just as (for the most part) we are connected by this seemingly insignificant blog. I mentioned Theresa Smith in my opening blog in response to reading the first four chapters in The Art of Possiblity by Rosamund Stone Zander because she gave me an ‘A’ through giving so freely to me the realization that I was worthy simply because I was a person, by emphasizing that my economic background, the life I was haunted by, the clothes I wore-that none of it had anything to do with my value. None of these things had the power to control me because they were just things and nothing more.
What I did not mention in that section was the reality of my life prior to that moment when Theresa Smith enlightened me to the possibilities at my fingertips, and here is where my contradiction with part of what I read emerges. I believe that we can be the chess board in many situations. I believe that we can be the framework for humanity just as she was for me, and we can help those around us rise above situations to see new potential and possibilities, but, perhaps it is my personal story that prevents me from connecting to the idea that all of us must wear the blame in situations and acknowledge our errors in problems or people that we encounter. Although I tend to void this topic as much as possible, I think that it may provide some basis as to why I am struggling so much with this concept. I was molested by a step-father for somewhere close to 10 years-the exact amount, I am not sure about because I can’t remember when it began, just when it finally ended.
I do not feel or believe that I should ever invite him into my life so we could discuss or resolve how he felt about the situation-I don’t care to, and I don’t think that anyone that molests a child and robs them of their memories can be permitted to be considered someone that I should give an ‘A’ to. Understanding why someone would do this does not alleviate the impact and ugliness that a child endures…now, with that said, does it mean that I have the right to play the poor me, card. No, I don’t believe that-I believe that my page is empty and what I write into my life is up to me and what I contribute to this final reading blog and to those around me is that we are all a book waiting to be written, and where we end up is only determined by our own actions; however, with each action, with each word, with each sentence, we can reinvent negativity into something as inspirational as the breath of a new born child.
After reviewing a plethora of choices, I have narrowed down my choice for publication submission to The Journal of Interactive Learning Research (JILR) and The National Council of Teachers of English-English Journal (NCTE-EJ). I picked the first publisher because the articles published are relative to interactive learning theory, design, implementation and the impacts associated with on-line learning. Since my Capstone projects involved an interaction between learners in an online discussion forum and critical thinking through critical feedback interaction, I feel that this platform fits with the message I have gained from this project. I believe that this could be an opportunity to share what I have learned and inspire other educators to try the same process and help create a world where learners are able to think independently. Publishing in this journal does not appear to have a set deadline regarding publication dates.
I chose the second publisher, NCTE, because my Capstone results demonstrate a significant increase in written and oral communication. In addition, there is an upcoming theme that my project will fit perfectly-Interdisciplinary Synergy: Teaching and Learning in Collaboration. In addition the publication date and submission dates means that I will have time to finalize nae perfect my submission prior to the publication release date of January of 2014. Learners, after implementing the critical feedback process, communicated in a fashion that inspired responses to discussion posts and open-ended responses to be more detailed, relevant, and rigorous. Since this project hinged on collaboration I feel that this domain would appeal to the audiences and possibly inspire others to utilize the process in my action research project within their classrooms.
June 16, 2013
VALUING THE OPINION OF OTHERS
I am thoroughly enjoying this book. As I am reading it is bringing to mind many things that I think are important and see them in the Christian worldview. As I continue to the read “The Art of Possibility”, what comes to mind is the recurring theme of humility, which I think is the source of true leadership and a mark of a good leader. One of the greatest challenges of a leader is the temptation to always lead with the strong foot forward.
When we lead with humility it fosters confidence and ownership. When we lead and not use those on our team as platform for us to stand on but rather to thrust them forward into their calling and purpose in live, it produces confidence because there is safety.
When the contributions of team members get considered, it produces ownership. Considering the contribution of team members reinforces and helps them with the practice highlighted in chs 1-4, ‘I am a contribution.”
I liked Zander’s statement when he said, “Gradually, when they trusted that I was genuinely interested in what they had to say, they began to support me, not by bolstering my authority, not me ego, but by giving recognition to my role as an essential conduit for full realization of the possibility of the music.” In my estimation this statement most clearly sums up the primary purpose of leadership.
HOW MUCH GREATNESS ARE WILLING TO EXTEND?
From a Christian worldview, I find that this is fundamentally one of the greatest questions we can ask. I believe that one of the primary purposes is that we exist for the greatness of others and their discovery of it and that our greatness partly lies in helping others discover theirs. The following might be a poor example however Mr. Holland’s Opus is somewhat of a picture of this to me. I saw him as a man who started out with his own ambitions as his primary pursuit only to discover that his purpose was to serve those around him, namely his family first and his students. This was something that was a struggle for him.
This seen in the primary pursuit his own dream as conductor at the expense of the dreams of those around him – namely his family.
However, in the end he had a host of learners who found themselves in life and in the end they gave him what he always wanted and he got his orchestra. Paul when he spoke to the Philippians, stated “3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Phil 2:3-4
The subject of humility is what makes the Person of Christ so beautiful to me and His leadership so remarkable. It is one of my favorite subjects to talk about.
As an example Jesus did the work of a slave to His disciples and said the following, “14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” Jn 13:14-17
DON’T TAKE YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY
Referring back to John 13one of things I see is that what Jesus’ serves His disciples, it was with the awareness of abundance given to Him by the Father; 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. Jn 13:3-4. It seems to me that there is a strong inter-connected between all of Zander’s practices so far. There is a connection between not taken ourselves seriously and humility. In order to take ourselves too seriously there are two conflicting dynamics in place.
- We have to see ourselves as possessing all the necessary ingredients to accomplish the task that is at hand whether, leading, teaching, problem-solving etc.
- The calculating self, which according to Zanders, “ … is concerned for its survival in a world scarcity.
“When we practice rule number 6, we coax this calculating self to lighten up, and by doing so we break its hold on us. The calculating self is concerned for its survival in a world of scarcity.” The Art of Possibility by Benjamin and Rosamund Stone Zander
I believe believe that part of what help us not take ourselves so seriously is recognizing that the weight up the world is not upon our shoulders and that part of the universe of possibility includes the resources of the gifts and talents of those around us. It is this that can contribute to levity of heart producing humor and laughter.
June 16, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
First, I have to say that although I do not comment on your posts each week, I am a dedicated fan, and each time you post something on your blog, I read it because I learn from you. Your interpretation and connection to humility is the perfect connection. How you seamlessly blend the lessons of life with the necessity of faith is inspirational. Your words mirror the music you send me, and both provide me with peace. When I am stressed or feel like I need encouragement, I come to your page or I listen to your music. You are a constant reminder of the essence of living-not just for oneself, but for the humanity in all of us. I know I digressed, but I wanted to let you know indebted I am to your constant reminder to see the world openly and understand that life is not just about the small battles one may endure, but the result from the continual effort to be a mirror of God.
This is not a new concept to me. I can not remember a time in our home when it was not full of laughter. In the worst times, the laughter was loudest. (You should hear us at funerals.) I think back on some of the hardest times in my life and my dad was always there with a joke or some way to make everyone smile. However, that is my personal life, not my professional life, so I have been more serious at work. I had a few students that said to me this year, “Miss Rose, we have seen you smile, but never heard you laugh.” I couldn’t believe that what they were saying was true, until I thought about it. I have been taking myself way too seriously recently. Everything has been about deadlines and accomplishing the tasks that I have set for myself. I have been living in the spiral and had forgotten about the vision.
As I have become more serious in my work life, I have started laughing less in my personal life as well. I have also started taking the actions of other so much more personally than those actions are intended. I believe that is because I have nudged Rule #6 out of my life. It is time to go back to my roots, stop taking myself so seriously and laugh a little more. Who wants to be around a “Debbie Downer” all of the time? I know I don’t, but I can’t move out of my own mind, so it’s time to change my mindset. Maybe I should make a poster that says “Rule #6″ and put it on my wall, because everyone needs a reminder once in a while.
While reading your post, I really connected with what you stated about deadlines and projects and details that I too get bogged down in. I laugh a lot in class, but while I was reading your post, I realized that while I am comfortable with laughing in the room with students, I do not laugh with adults on campus. I really, really have been thinking about this ever since reading your post. I really don’t actively laugh in meetings or with faculty. I am goal driven in those situations, and reflecting back to those moments, the others are just as dark and disconnected as I am. I also thought about how that mentality has moved into my life at home-the deadlines, the practices, the bills, and all of those things over power me, and I find that I am serious at home-more often than I care to admit. I don’t stop long enough to enjoy where I am or what I have-strange how I didn’t realize this until now-not even after reading the chapters did I create this connection. Thank you Anna-I think you have helped remove some “rose colored glasses” that I have been sporting these days.
This week’s readings, especially chapter 5-“Leading From Any Chair”, just happened to coincide with training teachers. I thought it was interesting enough that I posed the question as an opener for participants: “Where do you lead from?” I received interesting responses-the most frequent response was that when utilizing the LCD projector teachers tended to stay tied to the front by the desk as a separate entity away from their students. What I found more interesting is that all teachers felt irritation at being tied to their desks instead of in the midst of student activity. I asked them if they had considered not teaching from the desk, but having students use the computer to project, so that you are free to move around and interact with students. Most of them seemed like the question was an epiphany. I thought, given the information in chapter 5, that sometimes even when we don’t realize it, we tend to lead from the chair at the front of the room completely isolated from our students, and not even realize the impact on the classroom environment we are having.
Personally, I realized early on that the projectors mounted from the ceilings, although a great tool, was also going to create a problem, so I saved and purchased my own lcd projector to allow me to move about the room and allow students to lead the learning within the classroom. This way, I am the conductor-I don’t have to make a sound, but I am silently leading the room by allowing students to experience the greatness. Knowledge isn’t something that we should keep and just give to those that might be worthy, but opening the doors for all to gain that knowledge-it doesn’t mean that we will become obsolete or not needed. For example, recently our band director couldn’t attend a performance-I have no idea how to conduct or lead a band-no idea. Before the performance started, I asked the band, what do I do? They told me to make eye contact and point when certain instruments were to be emphasized. Of course, I had no idea when this was to occur, so I followed them. I stood in front, but they are the ones that led me through the performances. Could they have managed this feat alone and independent of me? Yes, they could have, but instead they passed their knowledge to me-with me, together-shouldn’t this be what our classrooms look like? We led together and not through isolation. I am not better than any of my students. Did our band director become obsolete because I stood awkwardly in his place-absolutely not. He is still needed because he is the one that taught them how to lead me.
I try to not take myself seriously; I try to laugh at errors and at moments when I completely humiliate myself, others do laugh with me, but the most interesting thing occurs each time (and there are a lot of these moments), I learn something and so do those that are with me at that moment. You see in these moments I am relying on my “central self” and not my calculating self. I don’t see these moments as road blocks that will equate to my demise, and one shouldn’t have this perception. Each time I make a mistake, others see that I am fallible, that I am not perfect, and that not being perfect is okay-and well, actually fun. The engagement created in the classroom from those silly errors, create an environment where we are all together, imperfectly.
While reading, a light bulb went off. I have attended what I consider completely total useless teacher trainings. Those kinds of trainings that occur last minute, in the most inopportune moments, right when I am in the midst of a really good lesson, and I am jerked from the class to attend the snore fest that I see as nothing more than a waste of my time. Yikes-I can be one of those people that see the negativity in the situation and only think the entire time about how negative it is. This is definitely an area that needs improvement. I noticed that at this recent training where I was training educators, there were 2 in the room that spent the entire week seeing what should be happening on their campuses and in their district-I wonder how much of the amazing strategies they missed out because of their focus–I wonder how many amazing strategies over the course of my teaching career that I have missed out on because I focused solely on what should be instead of what is. I need to participate completely in all ventures. What I have learned is that I may gain something beneficial through the eyes of a passionate learner instead of a disgruntled educator. What freedom can be gained when we are not chained by our own negative perceptions?
I didn’t realize the extent of opportunities to submit for publication. I read the summaries on each website that indicated the types of publications and investigated the accolades associated with each publication. After reviewing a plethora of choices, I have narrowed down my choice for publication submission to The Journal of Interactive Learning Research (JILR) and The National Council of Teachers of English-English Journal (NCTE-EJ). I picked the first publisher because the articles published are relative to interactive learning theory, design, implementation and the impacts associated with on-line learning. Since my Capstone projects involved an interaction between learners in an online discussion forum and critical thinking through critical feedback interaction, I feel that this platform fits with the message I have gained from this project. I believe that this could be an opportunity to share what I have learned and inspire other educators to try the same process and help create a world where learners are able to think independently.
I chose the second publisher, NCTE, because my Capstone results demonstrate a significant increase in written and oral communication. Learners, after implementing the critical feedback process, communicated in a fashion that inspired responses to discussion posts and open-ended responses to be more detailed, relevant, and rigorous. Given that the audience that reads NCTE are English educators, I feel that this platform will truly benefit those that read it.