Rebel With a Cause

Lately I have become obsessed with Podcasts. One of my favorites is The Happier Podcast by Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Kraft.  I am fascinated by the Four Tendencies Framework developed by Gretchen. In this framework, people are categorized into four groups based on how they manage internal and external expectations. The first time I took the quiz, I was an Upholder  meaning I respond to both inner and outer expectations. The second time I took it, I was a Rebel meaning that I don’t necessarily respond to either type of expectation.  Somehow I think this  duality applies to my life as an educator. By trying to respond to inner and outer expectations, I end up acting like a rebel. Let me give you an example.  I know that others expect me (external expectations) to perpetuate the idea that planning based on the results of a comprehensive needs assessment to determine student learning needs and contributing causes for why things are or are not working is the optimal way to improve a school.  In my heart and in my experience (inner expectations), I know that there is no one size fits all approach to school improvement planning and that often the best ideas emerge when readiness and opportunity collide, which more often than not, is weeks or months after the plan is written. I also know that simple, scrappy hacks (that do not require much planning at all) can often be the levers that lead to the positive cultural shifts that can accelerate transformation.  So what’s a girl to do?  In my case, I end up trying to satisfy both my upholder and rebel tendencies. We do the CNAs, develop and monitor the plans to satisfy my upholder self. We try to ground them in a clear vision while keeping them as simple and flexible as possible. At the same time, my rebel self us compelled to expose leaders to different ways of thinking by sending them links to articles, Ted Talks and inspiring Podcasts.  I nudge them to attend meetings and professional learning opportunities where they can network with innovative thinkers who approach challenges differently.  My hope is that all the leaders I work with can access their inner rebels to become a little edgier and a lot more open to innovative models and structures that are working to better engage the people who matter most in our schools – the students.

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