21-22 Leadership Stories Stagen-Geisel Notes

Stagen Notes: Knower vs. Learner

I’m surrounded by super intelligent people at work. Those teachers in my building have arrived in our institution because they are out-the-box thinkers who see challenges as opportunities to blow minds. Further, their capability to utilize research and modern learning practices far outpaces my ability to read and digest the gobs of research in mind-brain education. Yet, when someone comes up with a better idea than mine, or counters my “perfect” plan by gently offering why my idea is filled with a bunch of holes, my learner mindset reduces to almost nothing. For some reason, I often quickly devolve into a threatened victim. I’m in charge, and I get to make the decision – my immediate response is to go to war for my idea. And that knower instinct compromises the trust I hope to build in the community I direct.

Yet, when someone comes up with a better idea than mine, or counters my “perfect” plan by gently offering why my idea is filled with holes, my learner mindset reduces to almost nothing.

I need to pause and reset my brain (again, the FISBe mindset is so good!) and realize that the point of view of those that report to me 1) have real-time experience that I simply do not have, and 2) have done research that I simply do not have time to do. So they know more (there…I said it). Teachers will remain a school’s primary asset group for their ability to build relationships and encourage those with whom they are working to become better today than they were yesterday. Maybe better than what they expected they could ever be. They are a wealth of social and educational knowledge that only want to give and make the world around them better. An educator has an absolute value of infinity (if that is even a thing). I need to do a better job of demonstrating respect for their wisdom and leveraging that strength in the decision making process that happens all year. I will do better.

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