As I look back at my life and career I realize that this is the most important and the most difficult for anyone to do of the 7 habits. As I recall a habit is something you do so often that it becomes part of who you are, yes bad habits can be broken and good habits can be learned. This is why I think this habit is so important, because as educators and as people we need to put in practice what we learned and continue to put it in practice. This is where I think most of us as humans fail, once we learn something we forget to continue the practice and not only that but we believe just because we learned something one time we will remember it forever.
As far as how to teach this to someone else, I think that the best thing to do with my colleague is to discuss what I just wrote about habits and elicit from them about the habits they have started or the habits they have stopped. Have they become habits? If so, how did they become habits and if they didn't why? I would also discuss how in their personal life they have learned a new habit and point out how they did this by practicing and examining their steps everyday in order for this habit to stick.
Finally, for me as I pointed out, sharpening the saw has always been my make or break point on anything. If I sharpen the saw constantly I know I become better at what I do, but if I don't whatever I learned becomes a memory that I will only recall when I need to and though the use of research or looking back at notes.
When it comes to synergy I have to sharpen the saw in this department. At times I do believe I synergies with my fellow but if I had give it a percentage I would say its about 30%. I know that most of the time I do tell my teachers "you know your students more than I do" and I do believe this 100% but when it comes to actually creating goals this is where I do not synergies. Most of the time I tend to make goals on my own and then from here the actual process of collaboration begins. Having said this I know I have made progress this department and there is still room to grow. My biggest issue at this time is that I don't value many of the opinions of my fellow administrators when it comes to my department, technology. I'm not sure why I don't and in all honesty it comes from the fact that I know more about this particular subject and since the implementation in the end is left to me. What I have begun to synergize on is how to present the goals to out teachers so that I can expand my sphere of influence. As I ask more questions of my fellow administrators I have begun to listen to way to make my sphere of influence expand and my ability to implement the technology goals for the school.
As far as teaching this habit the best way I can see this is discuss how collaboration looks in their team and discussing how it can be improved. Then after this discussion I will go over the habits we have discuss and see which one is the one we need to improve on in oder to create synergy in the team.
Recently, I have begun to become a better listener and I have seen such a change in the way people have approached me and my leadership style. For example, the other day we began implementing technology in one grade level were we had some hesitation about the implementation. For the longest time my style of listening was to get my thoughts in my head ready to win the argument or have my way. But since I have begun to actually listen to my teachers I have begun to feel like I actually have made a bigger difference in how we implement certain things. The less of an agenda I have when going into a conversation with my fellow teachers the more of what my initial goal gets accomplish. If I start with the end in mind and focus on that, just in that goal and then listen to my fellow teachers the more of that goal gets accomplish. Does that not mean I cave in or decide they are right but by actually listening I feel my teachers become empowered versus me just telling them what to do.
Now as far as how to teach this to the person I have been working with, well I will use myself as an example once again. I believe that showing how I have failed to implement these habits in the past has hurt my sphere of influence is always the best way to teach someone. More precisely, I will discuss how listening is a great way to actually understand the other person and that even if you don't agree with them the positive interaction both of us will have will set the stage for further collaboration. I will use the example of this teacher above (sorry for privacy issues I'm leaving the even vague) but I will mention how now I feel I can up to that teacher and have an honest discussion about our goals in terms of technology and that progress will be made.
In this competitive world establishing the WIN-WIN situation is something that takes to develop or maybe some people are born with it. As for me I have spent the better part of the last two years working on this habit without knowing it. I'm still struggling at times with this because I was raised in a very competitive household where WIN-WIN was not necessarily what we looked for. We were more of a WIN-Lose household than anything end. So this value that I learned as a child has followed me to my present career as an administrator. I'm not going to diminish the progress I have made on this habit because I have. Recently, I have begun to see the teachers I work with as people that need to be motivated and that problem solving and compromise are words that need to become a constant in my vocabulary. As I look at this habit I know this is how I can increase my sphere of influence with my staff because this is the way they will feel part of the process and part of the solution to whatever issue or problem arises.
As a way to teach this habit to my staff member that I have been working with I have decided that the best way for me to teach this to her is to discuss examples where I have done WIN-LOSE and LOSE-WIN, basically scenarios. Then I will ask this person what would be some things that I could of done to make that situation a WIN-WIN. This way not only can I reflect on my own experience but also have a honest dialogue about what it takes to have a WIN-WIN. I will also ask for examples of situations were she has felt the situation has been lose-lose, win-lose and lose-win to analyze possible things that can make the situation WIN-WIN. Finally, I will ask this person why is a WIN-WIN a better result than any other and discuss the reasons why this is a better solution than any other.
This particular habit I find the most interesting of all in my current position. As I posted previously, I find it hard not to get distracted by little things that get into my way. At my school, we have a ticket system that we use to submit any technological issues that might occur in the classroom. Some things are very important like a student computer not working and some are not, like a printer needing ink. My issue is that teachers feel everything is important and my nature is to want to not look bad by not helping everyone. Unfortunately, I cannot get to everyone because I’m just one person and there are so many needs at our school. Having said that, I think putting things in quadrants can be a solution for me. I do have a list, actually I have several “task list” but I do not give them priority, well not in written form. What I can do is create a 3 color system, black, blue and red. Black being things that can be done at any time, blue things that can be done during the next three days and red are things that need to be done today. Now that I think about it, I hardly get red things or more than one.
Secondly, I also do not have a long-term plan on how my month will look like. I end up, and I just realize this, not finishing projects because I jump from one project to another. This has actually hurt me this year because I have begun to put more things on a deadline and I have not completed things on the timeframe I set.
My goal is to create a calendar with the color-coding I mentioned previously for this upcoming week and built from there. For the person I will teach this to I plan to discuss this in terms of their planning, since they are the team leader. I will focus on creating a weekly agenda with them for the entire team since it has come to my attention that some of the team members are starting to fall behind on things such as grading and uploading to their teacher websites. I will present my color-coding system and discuss how they can implement this into their own system for the week.
For me, my true north is to become a consultant in educational technology as a career goal. In the short run my goal is to integrate technology into the everyday teachings of the school I work in. I know this is not an easy task because there are many obstacles that I need to overcome to achieve this goal but ultimately I feel most of those obstacles are thing I can surpass by working on my leadership skills. As it was mentioned in the video one of the things that I do as a leader is to make sure I keep my word unfortunately one of the difficult task that I have as a technology leader is that most of my work is unpredictable. I'm not trying to make excuses but what I am trying to do is figure out ways to have what I say become the results I want. For example, today I had schedule a time to meet with a group of teachers to go over their technology goals and needs for their grade level. Unfortunately because a teacher computer went down, I had to cancel that meeting and attend to that issue first. I know my credibility as a leader took a hit today but because I knew taking care of the computer so the teacher could teach their lesson was more important I had to make that decision.
So my question or reflection is, how do I let my teachers know that as much as I want to keep my meetings with them and make all of them a priority, that unfortunately I can't because of the nature of technology.
As far as teaching this habit to someone else I feel this is a very easy habit to teach the person I have chosen to teach this to. The reason is that at our school we practice this habit all the time by doing backwards planning. We do this on a yearly basis, unit by unit, week by week and day by day. We set up objectives and exit tickets to measure our students results and we do this because we know where we want our students to be academically and we work backwards to decide on the steps to get there. For this particular individual I will follow up on a conversation we had previously about a student who refuses to do work in their classroom and figure out what we want to accomplish with the student ( for him to do work) and what are some ways we can get the student there.
As for me, I need to work on developing my leaderships skills in order to develop my sphere of influence and thus create networking opportunities to establish my own consulting business.
After watching the video by professor Pumpian entitled Pumpian Fall 2015, I have begun to reflect deeply in my role as an administrator and leader in my school. One of my biggest issues that I have come across throughout my life is this struggle between being a proactive individual to being a reactive individual. I have often found myself on the reactive side and as I have gotten older I have become aware of this. To the point that my reflections are often about this. As a leader I have seen the effect this has on my career to the point that I feel that as part of the admin team I belong to I am not necessarily the one most people would like to work with. I know that in order to advance in my career I need to change this behavior, I know I have a lot to offer as a leader based on the knowledge I posses about education, technology and many other subjects but not controlling my own reactions in the work environment is something that I need to improve in order to become more effective.
So how does one go about making this change exactly? One way I can accomplish this change is to listen before I speak. I know it sounds easy and maybe second nature to many people but for me this is a struggle. Somehow I have made myself believe I can read minds (not really but the way I behave it looks like it). So in order to do this I will practice the method of waiting at least two seconds before I mention a response to a question or a comment. I also plan to create a more detail task schedule in order to accomplish my many task I currently have as the IT admin at our school.
As far as how I will teach this particular habit to my colleague, well one thing I have noticed is that when this particular teacher is disciplining a student, she tends to react. One way I can teach her this habit is by sitting down with her and going through the habit and using myself as an example on how I will work on being proactive vs reactive. I will explain what the concept is, which to me is that you do not put yourself as a victim and that you control only your own actions and how you respond to situations. Then I will explain the steps I have been taking to be proactive, which will include what I mentioned previously about taking a pause before I answer any question or comment and also working on taking responsibility for my actions thus increasing my sphere of influence. I will discuss with my colleague how she sees her self, reactive or proactive and based on that conversation we will discuss steps she can take to be proactive during the week.