Saturday, August 4, 2012

Working WITH People, Not Against Them

One of the great benefits of being a teacher is the summer holiday provides a wonderful opportunity for self reflection. In many conversations with Aysem (@aysem_bray) during the summer, we talked about the 2011-12 school year as a great year of transition for Korea International School. Many people were on the move for the 2012-13 school year and many new faces have joined the KIS family this year. In looking back, I realized something very powerful about the previous year -- it was a perfect example of many professionals choosing to work with other people rather than against them. Not to toot my our own horns, but Steve Katz (@stevekatz) and I really had to show our team spirit and ability to work with people. The situation could have been very different had Steve and I not made some of the professionally mature choices that we did.

At the end of school year 2010-11, Bruce Roadside (@b_roadside) decided to leave the KIS community. Ben Summerton (@bensummerton), Steve, and I all applied for the Ed Tech Coordinator job which Ben was eventually given. Think about the situation for a moment -- three colleagues all applied for the same position, and one of them got it. Is the door not open to anger? Envy? Resentment? Bruised egos? You bet! But what do professionals do in this situation? You hope that they make a choice to work with someone rather than against them. But, how often does that truly occur? I've seen multiple times in my career where people chose to work against instead of with a newly promoted boss from their peer group. I'm happy to say that Steve and I were both above that. Early on in 2011-12, we both admitted to each other and to Ben that Stephen Cathers (@StephenCathers) had made the best choice. (We both even had opportunities to tell Stephen as well.) In addition, Ben made the choice to work with us as well. He truly proved his leadership abilities again and again by tirelessly working on PowerSchool and providing PD session along with Steve and me. Ben made decisions in a truly collaborative way and organized the department into a powerhouse within the school community.

So Steve and I made the choice to work with Ben rather than against him and the outcomes of that choice was amazing. It was my best year in education. As a team, I believe we pushed KIS forward. We provided PD opportunities to countless colleagues and supported the tech integration effort at KIS in multiple ways. Students, faculty, parents, and staff benefited from our efforts. Looking ahead to 2012-13 the future is bright and I'm looking forward to working with our new team members.