Sunday, 28 August 2011

Group Wisdom

As part of our recent district advance school administrators had to share knowledge with each other as part of an exercise referred to as their "Ticket Out the Door". The topic on deck had been mentoring and how we, as an admin team could better support on another. Over the past few months several members of the team had become new fathers so, as the last piece of business of the day, and in order to physically be able to leave the session, admin team members were to write out the single best or most important piece of information they knew or had been told about bringing up babies.

The results were both enlightening and entertaining. As the collector of the information I got to read, edit and collate the offerings, and then present them to the group the next day. Here's a sampling of what the team had to say: sleep when they sleep - enjoy the baby"s inside time, things get complicated once they get out, clean diapers replace the soiled ones; not the other way around, and read with and to the baby daily.

There were lots of comments about taking the time to enjoy babies while both they and the babies were still young, encouragement to support their partners in the child rearing exercise, even a suggestion as to how many babies might be optimal. Some of the comments were humorous, some heartfelt, all sincere. The point of the exercise was not to come up with a definitive list, but to demonstrate that working together, our district leadership team is pretty smart, and that by sharing their experience they can be effective mentors to each other.

This is my 23rd year working in SD 60, and my 30th as an educator. I can remember walking into rooms and marveling at how much older and smarter everyone looked. At this year's advance most of the folks appear to be younger than me. Those of us who used to be the ones asking for help or guidance, suddenly find ourselves fielding, rather than asking, the questions. Its not always comfortable, especially when we don't always know the answers.

Collectively we have a better chance of figuring things out. Just like we did with the new baby question, we can work together on any challenge and come up with some positive options.  As the year ahead unfolds, BC educators are going to face a number of challenges. Thankfully,  through collaboration and mentoring efforts, we will be able to tap into the wisdom of the group, and together,  get through them!

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