Monday, September 21, 2015

The Problem with the Expectations of GREAT THINGS

I'm guilty of expecting GREAT THINGS. 
I'm guilty of always looking towards the next GREAT THING. 
I'm guilty of getting fed up with people that don't want GREAT THINGS.
I'm guilty of not being open to the GREAT THINGS of others.

I have to start this by saying I have not read Jim Collins book, I am just familiar with this saying "Good is the enemy of great." In and of itself it doesn't sound like the above four statements would be detrimental to a technology coordinator's some extent it is what makes me look for better/different/new innovation. BUT, it also creates inside me this sense of lack of achievement. If my goal is always GREAT THINGS then it is hard for me to applaud the steps of "good," or to acknowledge the risk of "try," or to accept the possibility of "failure." This really isn't fair to myself or to the environment in which I work. Add to that my perfectionist tendencies and if I'm not careful I am walking a fine line of "GREAT THINGS ACCOMPLISHED EUPHORIA" and "JULIE IS BURNT OUT FROM TRYING SO HARD." There was a time when I 100% aligned myself with the saying, "Good is the enemy of great" but now I am seeing things differently, and in some ways that scares me.

Here is what I have learned this year about my infatuation with GREAT THINGS:

  1. GOOD might just be the stepping stone to GREAT. Last week someone said to me, "we may not be where you would like us to be Julie, but we definitely are further along than we were 4 years ago." That person was right. My goals for my school are beyond where we are but we are efforting yearly to get to the GREAT. So maybe, just maybe, GREAT is always an "in process." GREAT is always a moving target? 
  2. There is value in consistency. In my attempt to always try the "next best thing" I could make the whole idea of technology usage overwhelming for both the teachers and the students. If I am constantly introducing new ways to present, no one feels proficient on anything- they just have enough knowledge to be dangerous. Consistently using and teaching a handful of apps/websites allows us to get to great use of them instead of just good use. Does that mean I should limit a student's creativity of wanting to use something in particular? No, I will always believe in the importance of allowing students to own their path of learning as much as possible if they have that desire.
  3. Absolutes make me cringe. Out of necessity, I am trying to wrap my head around doing things differently than I normally would. Adjusting MY plans to make things work for the greater good of the students and the teachers. In doing this, it really makes my skin crawl when I hear people not willing to be flexible and see that their way may not be the best way. I'm learning that GREAT THINGS sometimes means allowing other ideas some breathing room. People who use absolutes like "students can't do this with that" or "there is no need for that" or "that idea won't work" without letting things breath and ferment before reacting makes that little gnawing place in my stomach need more Tagamet on a regular basis. 
  4. Protecting the potential for GREAT THINGS is important. Finding balance in what to "fight" for and what to let go is important. Deciding what's worthy is hard but not allowing those worthy things to be overlooked is harder. Being open to other's GREAT THINGS and keeping mine in perspective is my goal though. Agendas do not serve the greater good of our students.