Saturday, May 23, 2015

No Man's an Island, Unless You're an Educator

I spend day in and day out pounding the linoleum laced hallways in search of the all to mysterious collaboration session. I've mandated them, I required evidence of there existence and I've even chided those who refuse to do as directed. All in attempt to convince everyone on the team that wisdom lies within the council of many. 

What you may not know is that little to no  real collaboration takes place at the management level. It's as if someone has convinced those in leadership that working together is not worth it or bad for their career. Surely to share a potential great idea with someone who you perceive to be your competition is not wise, right? Wrong. 

Every organization, public or private, is made up of more than one person.  Individuals who were hired because someone believed that their various talents and skills could be used to move the organization forward and that this movement would be the result of a collective effort. Unfortunately, it is this same system that stifles and discourages the collaborative environment they say they value. We don't promote groups, we promote individuals. And even if we do offer some type of financial incentive to the team, there will always be one who is recognized as having been the motivating factor behind the success. 

Please don't get me wrong, I am not advocating that we do away with acknowledging individual effort. However, what I am saying is that our current system is out of balance. Do I have the fix? No. Nevertheless I believe Truman was on to something when he said, "it's amazing what you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit." 

So to my fellow school leaders I say, no longer can we who sit at the helm ask others to do what we ourselves are failing to do. We must be the change we desire to see in the world, in our community, in our schools, in our teachers and last but not least, in our students. For we are all members of the same team. Therefore, if I fail, we all fail, and vice versa.