December
08
2018

Are You In Your Own Way?

By Tom 0

I often wonder how many times it’s been me.

The roadblock.

The great idea diverter.

The dream killer.

The innovation crusher.

How many times has it been my own lens that has gotten in the way? …and I never even realized it?

I honestly believe no educator gets up in the morning and heads to school with the goal of being a tremendous roadblock on any given day. Yet it happens – every day.

For instance – in some places, technology departments are the greatest supporters of innovation, new ideas, and empowering teachers with access and tools. In other places, the technology department is one of the greatest roadblocks to innovation and ultimately what today’s learners need.

When I led a technology department, which one was I? I know how I viewed my own decisions, but what did it look like from the lenses of those that my decisions impacted?

How is it that two people, each sitting in the same conference session, can see and hear things so differently? How is it that two people, watching the exact same movie, can have completely contrasting views?

Part of it is mindset. Part of it is experience. Part of it is the way we each see the world – our unique lens.

There is incredible diversity in the compilation of our lenses. Each one of us brings our own God-given talents to our team. Each one of us has a unique experience; a unique background, that causes us to see the world as we do. It’s the diversity in our lenses, when bound together, that makes us strong.

Yet, sometimes we are so sure of our own lens…so sure that our way of doing things is correct; or, is “the” way. Sometimes we’re so sure that our viewpoint – the way we see the things around us – is the right way. It’s in our humility, that our own blinders can be removed. …and I believe that we all have our own set of blinders. How often we remove them, however, is on us.

Sometimes it’s our own lens that gets in the way. It’s our own mindset that can inhibit our ability to see things differently; to ultimately redefine what’s possible.

As I fly back east tonight, after almost two straight weeks on the road, there’s one thing I know for sure. Our schools are FILLED with amazingly talented, incredibly creative and dynamic educators, who have unparalleled dedication to serving children and doing whatever it takes, to ensure their success. These educators pour their hearts into other people’s children – every day.

Regardless of where I visit in the country, I see educators running through walls and tearing down roadblocks for the kids they love so much. I also see so many things that far exceed anything I ever thought to do while leading a school or district. Their ideas, their passion, their creativity makes me wonder how many times it was me – how many times it is me – that gets in the way.

Do we have the humility to step back? …and see that maybe there’s a different way? Even if we’ve done something for so long, and it’s worked, is there a better way for kids?

I’m honored to be connected to so many educators that push my thinking daily; so many educators that challenge me to be better … a better leader; a better dad; a better person. Thank you to those of you that do.

Together, we can do this.

All for the kids we serve,

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