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On what we want, and what we need.

This Longform podcast featuring Kathryn Schulz is fascinating for a number of reasons. Not least because she unpacks the effort and the work behind her Pulitzer winning magazine article, The Really Big One.

In the opening section, David Remnick, Schulz's boss and editor of the New Yorker poses the question "What would you like to do?"

Schulz replies:

"...I'm so fortunate, who's boss says, 'What do you want to do'. I mean, what a lovely sentiment ... I feel very lucky to work somewhere, where the thing that is guiding my work, is truly what I want to do..."

I've also been watching this playlist, which is from a panel hosted by the Albert Shanker Institute titled "Schools where teachers stay, grow and suceed."

The key quote is this:

Teachers who work in supportive contexts, stay in the classroom longer, and improve more quickly than their peers who don't.

And I was struck by how often we ask our teachers:

"What do you want to do?"

and then how less often we enquire:

"What do you need to help you do?"

Because the former question is easy to ask, and relatively easy to answer - because most people have an idea of what they want, as individuals.

The latter question is much harder, because it's a question that requires us to see beyond the individual.

To consider what it is to be part of a collective.

To be responsible for creating a supportive, critically honest culture.

For being accountable for an environment that not only values the individual but can see the potential and the power of the sum of the parts.

These are much harder conversations to have, and arguably we're not doing a good enough job of it here in in New Zealand.

As a leader in a New Zealand school, it was fascinating to consider some of these data sets and initiatives in the USA, particularly in light of some of our own initiatives such as Communities of Learning.

Tennessee Instructional Partnership Initiative

New York City Public School Survey

Panelists:

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