Overcoming Survival Instincts

Happy Friday!  Hope your International Take a Risk in Education Week was full of status quo-crushing risks!

On Friday with the weekend stretching out before us, many of us feel like we can pause, even if it’s for just a few moments, and reflect.   So rather than encouraging you to think about “what went well in your week?” and “what would you want to improve?” (not to knock those questions – they work!), let’s look at a spectrum.

This spectrum is inspired by Klimek, Ritzenhein, & Sullivan’s Generative Leadership; Shaping New Futures for Today’s Schools who assert that in order for there to be real change in schools, we must:

  • Challenge the commonsense assumptions
  • Raise fundamental questions
  • Foster reconsideration of that which is taken for granted
  • Think creatively outside the supposed limits of a problem to identify new alternatives for action and new prospects for the future.

So the spectrum: on one end we have education survivalist and on the other education thrivalist (I know it’s a stretch, but it rhymes so you  have to give me some credit).

 Image

To be clear, all of us probably live somewhere in the middle moving back and forth between the different extremes (for example right before I wrote this I made my daily checklist of things that have to get done 😉 ).

Take a look at the descriptions below and think about what parts of your week you were a survivalist (out there in the wild just trying to live one more day) and what parts of your week you were a thrivalist.

ImageEducation Survivalist

  • Your week is dictated by a never-ending checklist of things you have to get done (e.g. gather firewood, build a shelter or in the case of the educator -grade papers, enter grades, submit lesson plans etc).
  • High stress pushes you towards comfortable and known methods dictated by unexamined assumptions.
  • At the end of the day all you want to do is watch Real  Housewives of whatever season and not think about the world.

ImageEducation Thirvalist

  • You make space and time to focus on creativity and collaboration; this space and time leads you think about new possibilities.
  • Risk-taking and new learning happen throughout the week; you take time to examine your thinking, uncover assumptions, and challenge them when they are limiting.
  • At the end of the day you feel energized and want to go dinner with friends, take a Zumba class, and read about new innovations in education.

Image

So here’s the question – how do we help one another, help education overall move away from spending much of our time and energy running around looking for firewood and start making space for creativity and collaboration (and even a little zumba)?

Have a great weekend!

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Categories: Stage 1: Adult Learning and Leadership

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Trackbacks

  1. Avoid burnout: tips to turn a strategy into a deeper principle « Education to Save the World
  2. Throwback Tuesday: Are you surviving or thriving? | Education to Save the World

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