Feedback Mindset

We sat down for our conference. I recently I had spent a day in her classroom observing her. Of course, I knew this was going to be a challenging conversation because she was not accepting of my feedback (we all know that I give good feedback). By the end of the discussion, I had ignored everything she said, and she completely dismissed my suggestions for improvements. I headed back to my office to discuss how she did not take my suggestions and what was wrong with her.

I wish I could say that this was a moment of fiction instead this event was real. Unfortunately, I did not have the knowledge I have now about feedback. I’ve done some reading and reflecting and came to this conclusion. @Mrsmeganmorgan

I came into that meeting with my armor on to protect me and she also came with protection. We put problem between us, and I did not recognize her strengths. If I could call a do-over, I would not put my armor on. I would be transparent about my feedback. I would spend the time thinking about her strengths

I have been reading a ton of Brené Brown (side note-I have been gripped by her Facebook posts during and after Hurricane Harvey. She is so real.) She spoke about being in the right head and heart space to receive feedback.  Here is her list of the 10 things to be ready for feedback.

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I know there is feedback I will have to give this year and I need to look at this list frequently. I also need to examine am I approaching this teacher with a growth mindset or I am assuming that they will never change. Real meaningful feedback is challenging but worth it.

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The Hustle

Happy Labor Day, Dear Readers! On this day where we celebrate the work of labor unions to bring good living conditions, I wanted to talk about something that has been on my mind lately. I want to talk about teachers and second jobs.

I heard this on NPR yesterday:

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We heard from Christy Faymonville this week. She lives in Green Bay, Wis. – a single mom with two kids. One’s in the Navy, graduated and was valedictorian of her class. The others, still in high school. Christy is a teacher. She teaches math. But it doesn’t pay enough. And like almost everyone who called in, she told us a story of multiple jobs.

CHRISTY FAYMONVILLE: I work retail part-time. I waitress on the weekends. And I also tutor during the week. And during spring, I coach.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: The day she spoke with us, she was also a little hoarse from cheering at a high school football game, where she was also working security. Christy’s life is packed.

FAYMONVILLE: I wake up around 5:45. Then I’ll go to school. And I’ll get out of there at 3:45. And then from there, I usually have my retail job, which starts at 5 but really, really great boss. And sometimes if I have a meeting with kids as an advisor for different clubs, I’ll say, hey, I can’t get there till 5:15 or 5:30, and that’s OK. And then I’ll work till about 9, 9:30 and then come home and see if the kids need help with homework or what laundry needs to get done kind of thing.

Christy during this interview brought up that she is not the only teacher who does this and it is more common than you think. It also brings to mind the young teacher who volunteers to coach sports or take on additional duties to make ends meet. I bring all of this up because currently, we are in a culture that celebrates the hustle. We have podcasts and websites talking about the side hustle.  In reality, I want something different for teachers because we all deserve better.

Here’s what I want for my children’s teachers:

  • White Space-Time to reflect and think about teaching and learning
  • Enough money to pay the bills including the student loan payments
  • Time and money to explore their passions

Dear Reader, as I wrote that list, I realized that it was I wanted for my own children. We can’t ask the people who are in charge of educating our children to hustle to make ends meet. We wouldn’t want it for own children.