In June, when I filled out my Cohort 21 information, I reflected on a possible theme. It was that time of year when the totality of the year’s workload had me feeling burnt out. I promised myself that this year, I would not repeat the cycle of previous school years and instead use my “sphere of influence” to make better choices about creating space and time for myself and my students. I was committed to change for this 2018-19 school year; committed to finding the “time” for myself that has been eluding me for the past 12 years as I try to balance the demands of raising my young family with working full time.
Summer came and went, and when I returned to school, I was refreshed, energized and ready to tackle a new year. With the newfound support and inspiration of the Cohort 21 experience, I considered “How Might We” questions that I hoped would help me to stay focused on the theme of health and wellness and maintaining balance; to be my best self in the classroom. My intention was to meet the needs of my students, who increasingly feel overwhelmed, stressed and distracted throughout their days, while modeling the behaviour that I was asking of them.
My initial “How Might We” question was:
- “HMW: Connect Visual Arts teachers within CIS to create a community that can problem-solve and that works together to support and encourage each other?” Initially, I was interested in looking at a Design Thinking Model that would help us collectively plan for new assessment standards for CIS Visual Arts teachers that focus more on the process and less product.
My question has since evolved into:
- “HMW: Help students find a sense of empowerment through process and production in the Visual Arts?” With a focus on student passions, interests, goals, while developing a design thinking template for a summative assessment.
It’s now mid-December, and we are all looking forward to the winter break. Ready for some time to unwind and recharge. It seems a fitting time to step back and re-evaluate if I am on track towards achieving my goal; that promise to myself back in June. I realize that the simple answer, is no.
Reading Seth Godin’s blog this morning left me thinking. He claims that, “In order to make that forward leap, you need to trust yourself. To create space. To have the discipline to say no to distractions or even to projects that put you back into the 1x mode. The reason that there are so few 10x contributors isn’t that we lack innate talent. It’s that our systems and our self-talk seduce us into believing that repeating 1x work to exhaustion is a safer path” (https://seths.blog/).
This makes me stop and think about how quickly we let 1x work fill our days. It is what we know. It feels safe. As teachers, we can likely all connect with the idea of 1x work. So I ask, how might we build time into our day for the 10x work of innovation and creative thinking? How do we give ourselves permission to slow down enough? What words do we need to use to convince ourselves for this self-talk?
For those of you who are achieving this better system that he speaks of, how did you start?
What is the first step off of the safer path?
Enquiring minds want to know.