Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sometimes Choirs Need Practice Too...

My final presentation dates of the year were excellent learning opportunities for me as I spent one day with the Guidance Counselors, Special Education teachers, Student Success teachers, Social Workers, and CYC workers. We were looking at creating successful pathways with an emphasis on relationship building and connecting this to the work of schools. My point was that relationship building IS the work of schools and the group was largely in agreement. We talked about who's doing what, how they are collecting information on students, what information they are collecting, and what they are doing with the information.

During a break, someone politely asked why I was preaching to the choir. I replied, "Because some of you have stopped singing." The person explained some of the struggle in getting buy-in from classroom teachers who seemed to want to be dismissive of any student who stepped outside the expected requirements for all students. These teachers were quick to send students out of class, penalize their tardy performance, and expect the specialists to “fix” them.  My point is that the collective commitment of a staff has to be built by the staff. When the choir stops singing, the silence is deafening. Collegial influence backed up by evidence of progress on the part of the student will carry more weight than any inspiration I might provide.

After I tweeted out the original comment, a colleague, Diane Goodman (@dianegoodman701) sent out another key reminder when she said, “and sometimes choirs sing out of sync with the director - creating noise, not music‬.” Another key component of collective commitment is to have the leader engaged, ensuring that the team is all using the same songbook and that the desired outcome is to make great music together.

Sometimes, choirs need practice too.

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