This post is co-written with the amazing Lindsy Stumpenhorst! If you aren't connected with Lindsy, you're totally missing out! @lmstump
Lindsy and Adam talk almost on a daily basis via Voxer, and we've made a decision. We're just going to say it. We're tired of the complaining. We're tired of the excuses. Our kids deserve the very best each day in our schools and that starts with us!
I (Adam) have said for years that I like to ‘keep it real.’ For years friends have told me they appreciate my honesty and for being direct. That’s great - but lately I’ve been thinking about those non-friends of mine, those educators you work with who argue and make excuses and say they’ve always done it this way - how about keeping it real with them?
I’ve decided, I’m just going to say it.
When someone says they don’t ‘understand Twitter’ and it’s lame, I’m going to talk with them about learning and staying relevant for their students. I’m not going to nod my head and give a weak smile. I’m just going to say it.
If I hear a teacher or another adult in a school say ‘you’re too young for that’ - I’m going tell them I’ve seen Kindergarten students write three pages during Writer’s Workshop. And that I’ve had 1st graders in my own coding class that have written apps, programmed a Sphero and printed on our 3D printer. Yes. They. Can. I’m just going to say it.
If I hear a Principal complain about kids, that they don’t have time, there’s no money, they’re only a few years away from retirement - I’m just going to say it.
Complaining doesn’t get us anywhere, it only adds fuel to the bonfire which turns into an inferno that spreads and spreads and spreads. When a negative fire spreads that far, it’s so hard to put it out. If you hear people complain and complain, please say something.
How many times have you gone to a restaurant or a hotel and had bad service, and said something about it? Far too often we see or hear about something in education that’s happened and people just don’t say anything.
“It’s just how they are.”
“They are really nice though.”
“I don’t think they mean what they said.”
Call. Them. Out. Please just say it.
My two children are in swim lessons right now and a few weeks ago their instructor said something to my son that blew me away. First off, he’s three years old. They were practicing their dives and he’s made big improvement. What does she say?
“That wasn’t that horrible.”
Are you kidding me. I lit her up after the lesson, how dare she talk to anyone, let alone my son like that. That wasn’t that horrible? In the car I had a talk with Tilden about his dives, how proud I am of him that he’s been working hard at our pool and to keep giving his best effort. I also told him that what his ‘coach’ said to him wasn’t respectful and that I spoke to her about it.
Kids also need to know that adults can’t talk to them a certain way, kids have to know that we have their back.
Fast Company just published a great article about ‘6 Ways To Deal With Chronic Complainers!’ They have some great suggestions
Who’s coming with us? Who’s going to speak up? Who’s going to say what’s best for kids? Who’s going to call people out?
All of this can be done respectfully of course, it just needs to be done!
When I (Lindsy) was hired, it was well known, I was to be the first female principal in the building. Ever. As I walked into the lobby of my “soon-to-be” school, I was greeted by a wall of golde- rod frames with sepia photos...the legacy of principals I was to follow.
There were so many questions running through my mind, but the loudest “Would they (teachers, parents, students) like me?”.
Coming into this first year as a principal in a new building, I had one-on-one meetings to get to know my staff. During these meetings one of my teachers said, “I heard that you say it like it is.” I wasn’t sure whether to be offended or proud...
Some conversations are just hard, no matter how honest you are. In my short time as principal there have been a few times that I’ve drug my feet before uncomfortable conversations, but at the end of the day I still say it. In the long run, it doesn’t matter if we personally/professionally disagree.
Don’t we deserve honesty from each other? Don’t our kids deserve what’s right by them, even if that means a hard conversation between adults? If we don't talk about it, how will we ever fix it?
Today...I carry my reputation with pride, I do what’s right by kids, and that starts with my ability to be real (even though I still kind of hope that you like me!)