Wednesday, March 14, 2007


The contrast between today's beautiful weather and the snowstorm that left many of the TIE/ESA staff members stranded in Mission just one month ago, got me thinking about the message I heard there about the importance of resiliency. As South Dakota travelers, we've learned to "bounce back" from a variety of weather-influenced situations. As teachers and educators, we support each other through changing political climates and financial outlooks. All of these have caused us to become pretty darn resilient, which was the focus of the keynote presentation. Here are some of the concepts from Dr. O. Raye Adkins that struck a chord for me.

  • Developing relationships is critical. The first step to developing relationships is establishing trust. This reminds me of the old saying in the workplace, "under promise and over deliver." Trust is built when others know that you will deliver on what you have told them, that you will go the extra mile, and that you are being up front with them.
  • Priorities are relative. It's easy to forget that what is most important to others may not be the same as it is for you. Garmston's norm of presuming positive intentions applies here--know that for whatever decision was made, someone involved was basing it on his or her priorities at that moment, with the intent of doing good. As Adkins story of the boy with the Nike shoes but no poster paper illustrated, sometimes keeping up appearances or demonstrating love with purchases takes precedence for a parent over school supplies.
  • Help students understand "the rules." One of the easiest ways to help others is to simply share your experiences and the knowledge you have developed so that others can benefit from them. And one of the least democratic things to do is hoard all of your information so that others do not have access to it. What this says about classrooms that are isolationist in their practices is fodder for another posting.
  • Vocabulary, vocabulary, vocabulary. You can't navigate a society very well if you don't know the language. An episode of The Amazing Race illustrates this quite well. I'm very happy that the next TIE membership DVD featuring Jo Hartmann will be focused on vocabulary development.
  • H.I.S. High expectations, Insistance, and Support.
  • Be a flame fanner. Good teachers recognize the potential and encourage students to build on it. We need to do the same with adults and school systems.