This week has been one full of “Congratitude” – the combination of congratulations and gratitude. There is not formal definition, and though I am pretty sure that I made the word up, I am sure that I am not the only one to use it…
This week I have had the opportunity to work in several teams on different projects that were hard slogging. It was exciting and invigorating to work with colleagues who embrace ambiguity and practices high-impact collaboration. There were challenges, but never doubt; there were moments of difficulty, but never loss of hope. it is to these teams, and it is from these moments that I gain more energy and positivity to continue with hope for the future out of this complexity and uncertainty.
To that end, here are three resources that I have loved this week:
1) The Agenda, with Steve Paiken: Charles Pascal and why COVID-19 offers many of us a chance for self-reflection: CLICK HERE
This article is written about Charles Pascal, a professor of applied psychology and
human development heavily engaged in Ontario educational policy and progress. He urges everyone to be taking the opportunity (if they can) to reflect onthemselves during this time of isolation.
“What did I do during the day that reinforced the dignity of the people I live with or work with?” He also forces himself to reckon with the other side of the coin: “Or how didn’t I contribute to it? Could I have done something better?”
These are the questions the excellent educators and leaders ask themselves – even when the answers are difficult. It gives the prompt to think about and recognize moments of progress and gratitude in the work that others are investing in you, and that progress isn’t always linear. In a word: Congratitude.
2) Christensen Institute: Envisioning the Seven Habits of Highly Resilient Schools: CLICK HERE
This article asks the question: “What can school districts do to increase their abilities to adapt their operations and advance student learning in times of discontinuity?” A valuable question indeed. They offer some great provocation and great direction – one direction is to consider: Reframe students as resources, not just costs. While “costs” is a bit of a harsh term, I do like the reframe as resources – this speaks to student agency, that they can be learned with and learned from. For many this can build a new paradigm in how they see their role as an educator in the learning process. Imagine the successes, the difficult conversations, the breakthroughs if and when we develop learning institutions with this notion. We will have a great occasion to say “Congratitudes to all!”
3) Marc Brackett – Why Teachers Need SEL more than ever: CLICK HERE
I don’t mind going to back to Marc Brackett this week. In this article, he and his co-author write about the overwhelming pattern of emotions experienced by educators during the school closures and implementation of online learning:
The five most-mentioned feelings among all teachers were: anxious, fearful, worried, overwhelmed and sad. Anxiety, by far, was the most frequently mentioned emotion.
Are you surprised? Maybe, maybe not… But the real kicker is when he cites a meta analysis from 2017 (no school closures, no emergency remote learning plans). In this study the five most mentioned feeling were:
frustrated, overwhelmed, stressed, tired and happy.
Did you catch the difference? That educators can have emotions that are challenging and difficult, but happy reflects a sense of hope, optimism and connection: ‘happy’. The circumstances in which we currently find ourselves makes hope and optimism difficult – hence, sad.
What might we do to support our faculty, our educators, our parents and families and our students. Pay attention to emotions:
We need to understand how our teachers want to feel, again, and then support them with what they’ll need to experience these feelings.
We will get through this together. We will continue to find ways to support one another, to share and connect, to understand and reach out. And for that we will be grateful. We will be able to look back at the new relationships we have developed, the new skills and new sense of shared purpose. And for that we can say ‘congratulations’.
I hope that your week ahead has both things to be congratulated for (like making it through another week, some small (or big!) wins), and things to be grateful for (like your health, your friends, the sunshine). And I encourage you to put those together and wish yourself “Congratitude!”