“Shhhh” please don’t tell the pastor, but there are times when I take advantage of my one hour on a Sunday morning (while sitting in church waiting for the service to start) to generate my weekly list of things to do, resources to collect, colleagues to connect with and even my grocery list. Yet, once the worship team takes the stage and the first note pierces the air, I shift my focus to the task at hand and listen intently ~ frequently finding significant connections between the message and my day to day interactions with family, friends and co-workers. This Sunday was no different. On a pad of paper with the IMBES letterhead (another blog topic for another day) I started my list:
Shoppers Drug Mart
ESL Staff Meeting
FreshGrade ~ CBesse
List to LT Team
Review meeting notes from sessions with LIT, FSL and ESL teams
Survey Results OPC
iCon ~ Admin session
Western Conference ~ panel members
OPC Symposium ~ Panel members
Blog from IMBES ~ Knocking on Heaven’s Door ~ the power of music in presentations/Researcher/Educator Partnerships
And as per my usual mode of operation, my pen was placed aside as the music filled the auditorium and the service started. The focus of this series is MYCHURCH and last week there were several parallels to the message which once could easily connect to a school community. As a school principal, I was thrilled when students, site-based educators and parents referred to our building as “Our School” or “My (speaking from their perspective) School” vs “Your school”. The selection of the possessive pronoun sends a loud message as to one’s investment in the school. If you are personally invested, your choices, your dedication and commitment to that school are more visible and meaningful. If you abdicate connection, then you are less likely to invest and/or take responsibility for challenges and more likely to blame others.
This week, Pastor Rob continued in the MYCHURCH series and shared a light-hearted, yet somewhat macabre story of Cannibals working within a company and he drew connections between Kevin Costner’s character in The Guardian and “his number” as he intertwined passages from the Bible to support the message of “Who Matters”.
As he started to bring the message to a close, he emotionally shared that within the life of this church, he doesn’t matter, the incredible worship team doesn’t matter and gesturing towards us in the audience, he shared that we really don’t matter either. His closing remark, which had me frantically searching for my “now misplaced” pen and writing in bold letters at the top of my “to do list” was
“Those who matter the most are the ones who are not here yet!”
And there it was…..whether you call it a mission, a vision, a commitment, a strategic priority, goal-setting ~ the title doesn’t matter ~ identifying the audience and doing something concrete about it does! Our audience in Learning Support Services for our Learning Coordinators, Instructional Coaches, Math Facilitators, those educators who need to matter the most to us are “those who are not here yet”. Our educators who may not have a solid understanding of a comprehensive literacy or numeracy program. Our educators, who for a variety of reasons are reluctant to welcome other educators into their learning environment and those educators who rarely, if ever take part in voluntary professional learning. It is those educators who need to matter the most to us. How can we bring them into our world of professional learning and growth as an educator? How can we encourage them to see the value in engaging in professional dialogues with others? In our roles, it is very easy to feed and please our educators who are willingly coming the buffet of professional learning that we are offering. In some cases, our school based staff, who are attending, are poised to bring the additional ingredient of “day to day life experience with students” to the buffet. Our challenge is to engage our educators who aren’t coming to the table of professional learning, yet! They are the ones that matter the most. They are the ones who will help us reach our tipping point in terms of real system change.
My challenge to you today (because chances are if you are reading this, then you are somehow connected to developing your own professional learning through Twitter, Facebook or Blogging ~ and as much as I love and appreciate you ~ in the spirit of this blog ~ You don’t matter…smile) is to engage in a conversation with a colleague who may not yet be invested in their own professional learning. Listen to their story. Let them know that you care and are here to help. Recommend a quick article for them to read. Provide them with a rich task that they might try with their class. Invite them to a conference (LitCon16, iCon, STEAM). But most importantly….Let them know that THEY MATTER!
I would love to hear how some of those interactions went.
Come write with me……