Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Week Three Reading - The Art of Possibilities 5-8

Chapter 5 - Leading From Any Chair.
Before becoming a teacher, I was in retail management, and a very smart mentor told me 'your job is to make everyone else successful."  If I gave each employee a stake in the decisions, listened to their suggestions, and made sure they had the resources they needed, the employees really took ownership of the tasks at hand. I found my success came from everyone else's success.  I find this to be true in teaching, too.
In chapter 5 of The Art of Possibilities, the authors make the same supposition about passing on the leadership.  If everyone has input and a stake in the outcome, the results can be astounding.
I believe that daily I try to not to 'cram' lessons into my students, but try to make leaders out of each one of them.  It doesn't always work, but I am always amazed and excited when the students can take ownership and become the teachers.


  1. That is great advice and it is very hard to remember to do. I like that you try and do this with your students and try and give them ownership of their work and try to make leaders out of them. When you try and make everyone else successful it builds you up and makes you successful, the same applies when I am coaching basketball. When you try and do things on your own it rarely works out for the better, but when you think about trying to make every one else successful you will also be successful. This is great wording for me to read and I will plan on using this for my fellow teachers and players.


  2. I totally agree with you, Curt. Our job is to make everyone else successful, whether it is children or a team of teachers. When each person feels valued and has a ‘stake in the outcome’ we can really see something spectacular. I love that you have that attitude with your students. Watching young people or young children really take on a leadership role can be so rewarding. Then we know that they really get it.

  3. The quote that your mentor shared with you is great. It seems as though Full Sail's instructors follow this same idea. Rather than cram information in and memorize a lot of information, our facilitators have guided us along the way as we discover for ourselves how to create a blog, write a song or develop a website. This approach has lead to meaningful learning and the knowledge I've gained is something that won't be forgotten. I've taken this knowledge and applied to my everyday life and in the classroom.

  4. Great observation. The job isn't about clearing things off of your own checklist, but giving them as much control as they can manage and still meet the understood objectives. I worked for the phone company just as they were going to offsite/centralized management of the machine. Before this shift the technicians onsite treated the machine like it was their baby and it was theirs to ensure that it was running and trouble-free. When the bean-counters figured out how many hours the technician weren't "actively" working on the machine they felt that a centralized model where they'd move technicians around to where they were needed most, when they were most would be more efficient. What they forgot in their calculation was the sense of ownership that the technicians used to have to keep their machine up and running. That's something that you can't buy or calculate on a spreadsheet. Alas, when they switched from electro-mechanical switches to electronic switches, any intervention by people after installation usually degraded service and the bean-counters got their way. But like many a science-fiction tale, there will come a time when they will realize that no one knows what to do when the machine breaks...