I was looking for some information in my archives. I’ve written and kept a lot: Workshop descriptions and agendas, decades of report card comments, professional letters, application essays, you name it. In the process I have come across some documents that remind me of what’s important still. Here are a couple of brief examples.
This is from a workshop introduction I did in 2014. The topic is trust.
If the members of a large organization are surveyed, among the most common wishes expressed are those for better communication and greater trust. Not surprisingly these two aspects go hand in hand. As members of an organization and community, we seek belonging and purpose. We join forces, bundle our resources, commit our energies, share our results and take pride in our accomplishments. When our channels of communication are clogged, crossed or even haywire, we suffer. Our contributions may be squandered, go unnoticed, never reach fruition. What is our response? We doubt our leaders, withhold our best efforts and bemoan our organizational dysfunction. In short, we lose trust in the very organization and community which we sought support and improve.
So often we wait for our organizations to finally change. We find new leaders. We restructure our staff. We announce sweeping reforms and initiate widespread training initiatives. And once again, the critical ingredient of trust remains outside these bargains, and the desired change almost never takes hold.
I also found this gem in a letter about professional development to an author educator, not sure that I even sent the letter, though.
The more I think of it, the more convinced I become that we only improve our educational offerings at the rate at which we improve ourselves by becoming students – struggling students, in fact. We need to spend more time not just attending PD, we need to be creating, reinventing, challenging the very notion of PD. Frankly, I’m tired of sit and (for)get. I’m in for get up, get busy and take charge of your own experience. That’s the direction we need to be moving as educators and our kids are already paving the way a million times over.
What sorts of treasures are in your archive? Just because it wasn’t written or created last week or last year doesn’t mean it’s not valuable.
Think about this with me. Dive into your archives and find out who you were, what you prioritized, how you’ve grown. Share out on your blog, in a reply, on Twitter or anywhere else. I wanted to give this idea a more formal kick-off because it’s been rattling around in my brain for a while. This will have to suffice for now. It probably needs a hashtag. Maybe #ArchiveProject?