Thursday, November 14, 2013

SLLO Reflections: The Best Laid Plans...

So it never fails – you set out on a big scheme that you have planned perfectly only to be laughed at by the universe that is clearly “anti-planning.” Well, at least that is how I always feel. Whether it is a morning routine gone array, a planned mental health day that turns into me or one my kids actually getting sick, or a Pinterest project gone wrong – life just happens.

Such is the case with my work in SLLO.

I clearly had grand plans of changing lives. Of making my students think harder, work smarter and be excited to discuss… wait for it… what they were learning outside of those hours spent “learning.” This work was going to change them. I was going to aid in their personal development, celebrate with them after they get that dream job, listen to their stories of discovery and then wait for the applause that follows on a job well done.

What I got was something I could have never expected.
All the time I spent evaluating rubrics, spell checking leadership learning contracts, facilitating leadership moments and sitting in on feedback sessions – ALL of that time, I was expecting to see a change.

And I did.

I saw a student determined to improve public speaking skills speak to a crowd of thousands.
I saw students afraid to give feedback evaluate friends and peers with objectivity.
I saw students connect classroom knowledge to leadership skills.

There are many more examples just like these where I witnessed change. But in all of that, the biggest change came from the most unexpected place. Me.

I changed.

I became more attentive. I reignited a passion in my work. I polished my own skills of prioritization and time management. I ran meetings more effectively. Every time I set the bar higher for my students, I did the same for myself. And together we grew as a team.

I even interacted with my children with more intention and discovered new ways of integrating learning into their lives. And while my husband hates it when I “student develop” him – I think he would even say that while my planned creation of a rubric for our children’s ability to potty train/brush teeth/follow instructions sounds crazy, it’s better than the money we spend bribing rewarding them for good behavior.

Much of the discussion of “should I or shouldn’t I” in terms of adopting SLLO into work practices revolves around the extra time it adds to work. And all those discussion are true – it does take time. But in the words of the often quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The reward of a thing well done is having done it.”

So do it. And make plans for the unexpected.

- Katy King

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