This week I had the question that appears at the beginning of this blog presented before me at a meeting I have the great fortune to attend where where Tara Brown, The Connection Coach, spoke.
I speak to MANY educators about the what-ifs of school. What if teachers could be less negative? What if my colleagues smiled more? What if my teams could work better together? What if my colleagues trusted one another? What if we acted like we’re all on the same team?
I also speak to many educators about the if-only’s they feel in their lives. If only my students read. If only my colleagues helped more. If only I could teach in the way I believe is right for my students. If only I could feel confident that I will be backed up by colleagues when things go haywire. If only I felt supported in my work. If only I had a team I could really on.
But here’s the thing, if we’re all saying it’s difficult to work with adults in our building, what are we doing about it? When we acknowledge the part we play in our school culture, it means that we must hold ourselves accountable as participants in creating the culture.
This also means that we must hold ourselves accountable each and every day for the ways we treat the people with whom we work. A tool I like to use is the acronym THINK: Is what I say Truthful? Is it Helpful to the situation or the person? Is it Inspiring? Is what I say Necessary? Is it Kind?
Am I always perfect at this? Not even close. But what this acronym does is it allows me to reflect on my days and the ways I participate in creating a culture I want to be a part of at my school. We have control over the interactions we have. We have control over the places we choose to participate. And most importantly, we have control over the ways we speak and react to our colleagues.
What are some tools you use to create cultures of connection? How do you hold yourself accountable for creating the place you want to work?