I like to work alone.
Is that a surprise to you? It might seem odd considering I spend almost every waking minute connecting with someone via twitter, edmodo, facebook, email and my blog … and if I’m not connecting with them I’m thinking about something I want to say or someone I want to connect with.
But when it comes down to it, I’m pretty possessive about my ideas. I like to steer my own ship. I like to see things through solo and (quite probably) get the glory for myself. If the end product is worth glorifying, of course. But usually even if it’s not – even if it is a supreme failure – I still wanna own that. I want it to be ‘my’ failure. I know I’m like this. But I haven’t really ever thought critically about the consequences of this attitude towards learning and working.
Showing off the ‘Belonging Assessment’ to a couple of people … most likely in order to have my ego stroked … I discovered a confronting flaw in my working style. New mate Glen asked me if I had undertaken some random new-age psych test (I’m sure it’s 100% reliable but those self-assessment questionnaires make me nervous regarding self-bias etc) to see what type of personality-type I am … or was that worker-type? Anyway, the crux of the matter is that he hypothesised that I may be of the type that gets a little too carried away with my own ideas. A little excitable. One who may inadvertently overwhelm and scare off colleagues.
I get that. Kinda sad that I’ve ‘known’ him for a week and a bit and just from chatting casually about teaching – especially the Belonging Assessment – he’s labelled me … and quite accurately I’m sure.
But it wasn’t just Glen, one of my dearest friends, the wise Dr Kelli McGraw, gave me feedback on the Belonging Assessment as well … and whilst her feedback was more pragmatic, it does touch on similar issues raised by Glen.
Feedback from Kelli:
In the self-assessment for the second task though, there is one criteria that would catch teachers up in my old school:
“Did you use the features of your form effectively to represent your ideas about belonging?”
Because there are so many forms on offer, in a school where the students are very competitive, they (and their teachers) would be really worried about being sure of what features are “effective”. This might not pose a problem for you guys…I don’t know?
See the point she’s raising is practical – make sure that the teachers know the features of each text form so they can confidently support their students in their representing of belonging – but underlying this is an awareness that this task was not created as a team. It isn’t the result (entirely) of faculty collaboration. It was me running ahead overly excited and keen to make the bestest assessment task ever. Me putting my hand up to do it all myself. I don’t know what compels me to move at the pace I do. It is some bloody demon, I am sure of it. I guess we’d call it the ego-demon.
But what is the impact of this demon-drive? Well obviously I’m rushing ahead at a dangerous speed, failing to look back at those being left behind … ignorant of the need to slow down and wait. To take the journey with my colleagues to ensure that the destination is owned by us all, enriched by varied talents. Bugger.
Dinner tonight upset me. The convergence of my ‘online’ colleagues (in the form of twitter colleague Glen) and my real-world colleagues (in the form of fellow Davo teacher, Eleana) was uncomfortable. A comment about me preferring to do things on my own gutted me. I don’t know why. I guess what hurt was the dawning of the truth – I don’t like criticism and if I don’t share IRL then I don’t need to face negative feedback. It’s might come as a surprise but I haven’t shared this blog with anyone at my school and most of the things I do in my classroom stay in my classroom. How self-indulgent and egotistical would I sound saying, ‘Have you read my latest blog post?’ … um, no thank you. My colleagues are wonderful teachers and don’t need an ear-bashing from me. Some things I’ve done that I think others might like to try or might find value in I share via edmodo … or I show my HT and he may introduce it faculty-wide, but most stay in my classroom and with my thousand or so virtual colleagues.
Urgh … this post is such a whinge. I dunno … I’m going to work harder on my next project to invite some ‘real’ colleagues to share in the experience. Even if they say I’m mental and it’s an impossible, unnecessary activity.
Do you work ahead and alone, driven by a nameless demon?