The New Normal
August 22, 2017
The weeks before school start are a blur of activities. One of those activities this week was to join a new PLC group. The members of the group are very familiar to me, but we haven’t worked together in this configuration or these roles before. As in most PLCs, one of our first tasks was to set our group norms.
Usually group norms are “low hanging fruit” as my current principal would say. Easy things that make sense when you are working in a group. Be respectful, give everyone a voice, come prepared. But today, in this moment something nearly magical happened. People started speaking about things they hoped they would do. Things that are challenging sometimes for them.
Some of the ones I loved best were gently spoken from heart and tenderly received by the group. One person hoped we would be flexible. One said that we should embrace our changing school and the contributions that all of our many new teachers bring with them to our work. I am particularly enthusiastic so I said that I hoped to give wait time in the way I do with the students so people had time to fully complete their thinking.
There were a lot of suggestions involving being positive and assuming positive intent in others. And then for me, it all turned a corner. Some one said stay focused on the work and then… seek to understand. All of my Seven Habits thinking came back to me and I thought, yeah, this is it. Seek first to understand, then be understood.
Then I thought of the secret sauce of this group… synergy. We are so much better together than the individual intentions of our separate selves. This is what makes me look forward to meetings, to chats, to days, to weeks, and to years with these people.
Here are the rest of our norms to encourage our work and perhaps yours too.
-Be OK with messy (embrace mistakes)
-Stay in the present
-Emphasize the process