Trying to embrace, understand, and celebrate change–yes, that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m not up for a full on celebration of change, but I am up for celebrating new insight that comes with change.
My new school year is marked by changes. New grade level. Two new preps. New principal. New collaborative groups. New classroom. New students. Old students who have changed and aged. New age group. New school improvement plan. With these changes, I am in a different sort of role–I am not the head of a department. I am not the person who has taught ELA in my grade level for the longest. I am not even the line leader of car rider anymore.
I think back to the moment last year when my former principal entertained the idea sitting across from me at his desk saying with a subtle smile/smirk, “Maya, I’d like to see if you can be an indian and not a chief.” I’m not sure what my response was out loud, but inside I contemplated it for a second and thought of how nice it would be to have less to do, yet I avoided going too deep in thought about how that would impact me.
Fast forward…back to school…chieftain headdress removed. A mere papoose. On the grade level, I sort of relish in the change and letting go of leadership because the group is organized, their systems are well though-out, and the structure is perfect for 8th graders. Being the youth of the tribe isn’t a bad thing. The systems and consistency make sense, and operations is not my passion.
Now I’m presented with the role of indian in other areas. I am no longer department head, I am no longer the voice of experience, and others aren’t always listening (or at least pretending to listen) to me. In spite of my 19 years of teaching ELA and in spite of the fact that I have the most ELA teaching experience in the room, I feel like the newbie.
This new role demands humility and causes a shift in my perspective, but it also allows me to to reflect back and look forward while I truly consider the present.
When I stopped to think about this originally, my youngest child syndrome emerged. As the youngest child and an impulsive and passionate one, I had no sense of timing but had a lot to share. I felt snubbed when my voice was shut down even if I interrupted grown up conversations or the news or something else. When I began this post, I made a list of all that I needed to remember as an indian (my timing is important, there’s a right time for me to share, my voice is important, the show is not mine, I can be too much, I need to conform, and I should learn how to lead from following).
Then, I stopped. thought of some recent reading I have done and had an a-ha moment. The answer is in what makes a team function well. I realized my list about me wasn’t the answer. The answer is from the Google Analytics team. The answer is in the productivity book I read by Charles Duhigg entitled Smarter, Better, Faster. I might not be the leader of the team, but I think if I change my mindset to “team” mindset, and I share with my collaborative team what I learned from the book I read that we can all agree if we work towards an atmosphere that embodies the 5 traits of top teams, we will work better together.
Here are the 5 top traits of teams:
What I say and what I do should embody these traits. I should spend some time blogging each of the 5 as I try to better who I am as a member of a productive team.
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