In our quest to stay curious and to encourage those around us to be curious, there are times when we stop and ask ourselves, “why”…are we doing this…is it important…is it relevant?
And then I get reminded of those “whys” during a conference I went to where the presenter was sharing her passion with the group and encouraging them to live their passion as well. She referenced a conversation with a teacher from my building and they were discussing a question the teacher had about her teaching. In the middle of the discussion the teacher said, “I’ll just go ask Shelley.”
The presenter was astounded that the teacher would feel comfortable to bring the problem to the building administrator and she even asked her as much. The teacher easily replied, “Oh yeah, she’ll give me good feedback.” All the presenter could say was WOW! What kind of culture does that take to have teachers feel so comfortable that they can be curious and use their administrator as someone to bounce ideas off of.
I share that story not to be arrogant but to remind myself that it does matter. The work we do to foster our own curiosity and curiosity in others does matter and while we may not directly see or hear the payoffs they are happening and they come back to us indirectly.
So it is times like this that we reflect on all that we’ve done and we see the difference that it makes in those around us. We feel inspired to continue on and continue to be curious, knowing it does make a difference.
Shelley, what is interesting to me is my initial reaction to the teacher quote. When I first read, “I’ll just go ask Shelley.”, I immediately judged that the teacher wasn’t able to think through the question without checking with her administrator first. I thought it was going to be an example of a teacher with low resourcefulness who, for whatever reason, didn’t feel empowered to think through a challenge without the approval of her boss. How sad of me.
I’m ashamed to admit this on two counts. First, I should have read more carefully. Knowing that the teacher works with you should have tipped me off. You don’t expect educators to check with you on every little idea. You intentionally hand thinking back to them whenever you have the chance. This builds the culture you described where teachers feel comfortable to openly bounce ideas around with you.
But I’m also ashamed that I went to a negative assumption about schools in general. While there are schools where the principal holds all of the decisions, this is not the norm. Many administrators strive to grow a sense of agency in the colleagues they support.
I think, what matters, is that you heard this compliment and you celebrate it. It is not arrogance that brings this compliment to the blog today – it is celebration in an example that shows, not tells, a result of living curiously. It is a little moment, but it is a big example.
So many of us are in a rush from one obligation to another that we don’t slow down to celebrate little glimpses of our vision lived out for our communities. You did slow down. You remind us today that it matters to live consistently curiously and, even more so, consistently aware of moments when ideas are growing in a school.
It matters that you realize it matters.