Habit 4: Think Win win
When I think about win win situations, I think about how many areas of one's life that this should be taken into consideration yet might not be. For me personally, I believe that my husband and I do not compromise as Dr. Pumpian discusses, because that would mean that one, or both, of us are not being fully respected or heard. Instead, we find the win win solution that ends with us both very happy. This communication and partnership in my personal life has often helped me in professional situations. As a teacher, I have recently found a greater partnership with my students after reading "Student Voice" within a professional development setting as well as small optional book clubs. Although I am looking for more ways of providing a win win situation for my students, I have recently expressed to the class that I would like to collaborate with them in reconfiguring our classroom layout. I expressed the areas that were most important to me and then offered them opportunity to discuss and explain what is important to them. After this, they had the opportunity to draw out floor plans with any explanations necessary as to why they would prefer their changes. After looking through the feedback, I made the changes over the weekend and the ongoing feedback and appreciation from the students is incredible. I believe that I offer as much assistance as possible to my fellow teachers, but should start paying more attention to how I am modeling this. I do believe that we also have more room to grow in this area as a team. I believe that next steps for us in making sure that we are pushing for more win win scenarios would be for us to meet as a middle school staff more often so that all of our needs and ideas can be heard. This is something that is hard to find time to do, but it seems clear that all are in agreement that it is where we want to be.
Your correct in your observation that although we want opportunities for everyone to be heard, it does take up time. As a student teacher I was afraid to spend too much "academic" time to work on building community or other "soft skills" but I had a great mentor teacher that showed me how much the quality of academic time improves when students feel that love and support. I love your idea to include kids in the design of their classroom. You show your dedication and support to them by listening and then using your weekend to follow through, and I'm sure they appreciate that. Hopefully your fellow teachers pick up on the habits you are modeling!
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