Why Co-Created began in the first place, and
Why it matters
(PS… *Bonus!* : Discover your unique Why, and how to craft a Why statement for your organization, school, or classroom)
Well, a lot of learning, for one thing.
I learned a lot about myself. I learned how to not define myself by my job title. How to respect myself and see my worth whether others do or not. That I am resilient. That the size of my ideas makes them hard to fit inside a classroom. That I crave flexibility in my work.
I learned how to have a boss, and how to work with a team of peers. I learned what strong leadership looks like through both examples and nonexamples. I learned that there is a need in the education world for team dynamics training, team profile building, and generally investing more in the teams of adults who invest so much of themselves into the students they serve.
I learned that while Project-Based Learning (PBL) is engaging and deep, it is not an inherently student-centered approach or philosophy. In fact, it leans heavily in the teacher-centered direction. More on that in a future post.
I learned more about the key differences between private and public schools, which further fueled my fire to make education better and more accessible for more kids.
I re-learned some things too.
I re-entered the classroom after 4 years outside of it, and the impossibility of the job known as “teaching” came sharply back into focus.
(…You want me to work how many hours for how much money?!)
There aren’t enough hours in the day. There is no flexibility, only rigidity. There is a constant tension between reporting past learning and planning future learning, which meant never living in the present moment with students. As I looked around, I saw a million opportunities for improving the job, the field, the experience… and zero time to actually carry out any of those great ideas.
And to top it all off, there is certainly no prestige.
All these factors left me more motivated than ever to try to make a difference for teachers, for students, and for the broader world of education.
WHY A WHOLE YEAR WENT BY
One of the biggest re-learnings of the past year was something I already knew about myself but hadn’t yet accepted: I’m an all-in person. Whatever I do, I do all the way. I dive headfirst into the deep end and pour my whole self into it. I mean, Wholeheartedness is one of my top 4 values in life. So this past year, the classroom became my world. No matter how many promises I made to myself to balance running Co-Created and running a classroom, I wasn’t able to keep them.
I told myself I could learn to be different, to multitask, to spread my interests and passions more widely, especially if the different elements were complementary.
It turns out that’s not a learn-a-new-skill thing, in my case. It’s a fighting-against-my-nature thing.
That was hard since Growth is another of my top values. Why couldn’t I just grow to be different, or better, or more? Surely I am a smart and capable enough person to figure out how to juggle a main hustle and a side hustle. People do it all the time! I mean, look how many teacher-bloggers there are out there. What was wrong with me that I couldn’t swing it? Self-doubt and even self-resentment crept in.
I thought I was broken. I was wrong.
Some people are meant to do multiple things at a time, extending themselves broadly. Others are meant to do one thing at a time, extending themselves deeply. I’m in the one thing at a time camp, and I’m learning to accept that that’s ok. It can even be a good thing. I couldn’t have helped start a school, lead it, and grow it for 6 years without being an all-in person. My all-in-ness was a strength. (Though, to be fair, every strength has a shadow side. With all-in-ness comes a need to consciously seek out life balance and actively work toward moderation– a life-long work in progress).
After a year of learning these lessons and many many more, I knew it was time to get back on the horse. Learning all these lessons would be worth it if I could share them with others and use them to help make change.
To do that, I had to get back in touch with my WHY.
(continued in part II)
Let’s make this a conversation — I look forward to reading your comments!
Part 2: Why Co-Created began in the first place, and Why it matters
*Coming Monday June 17*