Sunday, August 16, 2009

On Staying Focused

As I ready myself to head back to the trenches of public school in a week, I am both worried and excited about what might be in store this year. Last week, I spent some time in a meeting where there were discussions concerning our focus on getting our kids to pass the almighty standards of NCLB. You know, the ones that say all children are the same and we better well damn get every kid to pass the tests OR ELSE.

Allow me a moment to roll my eyes.
One of the things I have disliked the most about my years in teaching is when leaders think they all know what's best and decide to get a large group of people (They call them stakeholders. For real. Stakeholders. Every time I hear that word I turn it into Steak Holders and imagine people holding bloody pieces of beef. But I digress.) together to "brainstorm" in an effort to "make decisions."

I don't support this idea at all. I believe in representatives dealing with the matter at hand. Said representatives can and SHOULD communicate with others not present at the meeting to harvest thoughts and opinions on whatever's the focus. However, generally speaking, I cannot stomach being in a meeting where there are 50 people who aren't on track, focused, and ready to work.

In my experience, out of those 50, maybe 5 are down and dirty working people. 20 are pissed that they're in a meeting and offer nothing. 15 are socializing and distracting people but will be ready to complain their asses off once the decisions come down the pike. The other 10? They don't want to work together. They just want to push their own close-minded ideas through like a proverbial freight train and get openly hostile when someone questions their offerings.

Leave your ego at the door.
Be ready to work.
Represent the cause. Not YOUR cause. THE cause.
In this case, whatever's best for kids.

Unless you're on of those 5, I honestly don't want to deal with you in a meeting.

Wilma Mankiller was the first woman chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. She said it best:

Too many people in leadership try to do too many things, and nothing gets done.



i think the correct expression is too many chiefs not enough indians.

amber said...

And the sad part, this kind of thing doesn't just happen in schools. :/

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