You know the moment, I’m sure.
You’re drawn in – you want to explain – you want to show how something CAN be done.
Then slowly but surely it starts to dawn on you.
At first you resist that inner voice, that instinct that tells you to bail out – to disengage.
Yet that cautionary voice grows louder and louder.
‘What are YOU doing? Get out NOW.’
I’m chatting with colleagues, one of them is speaking excitedly about a new teaching practice.
I pipe up, indicating that I’ve been using that practice myself, in one of my classes.
It’d had made an impact on so many levels – lifting engagement, deepening the quality of discussions within class, and firing up students’ passions and interest for the subject.
As I shared the benefits, another colleague piped up. They had concerns with the teaching practice, from an access and equity perspective.
- Thinking through their concerns – I suggest a possible way forward – a way to navigate the hurdle/barrier.
You see for me, where hurdles or barriers exist, that’s when the work starts – to see what we can do.
- They block my suggestion – indicating how it wouldn’t work – drawing attention to the issues facing disadvantaged school communities.
I’d spent most of my teaching career working in such communities
- I indicate such to them.
It was as though I felt the need to demonstrate my credentials – to back myself up.
And THAT’S WHEN I STARTED TO CATCH MYSELF….
‘Stop right now Greg.’
- Trust your instincts.
- Trust that inner voice forged through experience.
I’d been in this situation many times before.
The topics may have been different but the situations were a carbon copy of this one.
Someone raises a problem | I go into problem solving mode.
Someone closes a door | I seek to open it – excited at the possibilities beyond.
Someone says ‘No’ | That just inspires my sense of activism.
Where a hurdle or barrier exists – I’m all about devising ways – with my students, colleagues…. – of navigating up, over, round, or through the hurdle or barrier.
- It may not always work – first, second, third…time but I’m (we’re) gonna give it a good go. And I’m (we’re) gonna learn from those attempts.
BUT you know what, sometimes no matter what you do or say:
- No matter how you twist, turn and contort yourself – along with the issue itself;
- No matter how many possibilities you devise – taking into account the seemingly never ending objections or barriers…
…the answer will always be: NO | NOT POSSIBLE | NOT NOW | OR | NOT GONNA WORK.
You can give it a good go. Indeed, sometimes it can be hard to resist the temptation.
For me though, I set myself a CHALLENGE nowadays. It’s a three-step process.
- To catch myself when I’m in a NO, NO, NO situation, (Trust Your Instincts Greg.)
- To dis-engage; and
- To turn myself towards possibility.
And by possibility I mean, turning towards educators who have a ‘let’s give this a go‘ – ‘let’s try to find a way through‘ – ‘let’s think of alternatives‘ mindset.
Regardless of the label, I know that when I’m giving more SPACE to these forward-focused, problem-solving educators:
- that’s when I grow;
- that’s when I THRIVE in my own voice; and
- that’s when Action takes place.