Monday, April 22, 2013

If work is no longer a place, what about school?

School, for most of my life, has been a place.

Inez Elementary School. Monroe Junior High School. Sandia High School. Graceland College. The University of Washington. Texas Tech University. Wayne State University.

Each and everyone of those schools was, and is, a place. I showed up, entered a building, found my classroom, sat in a desk, and waited for the teacher to help me learn. For the most part the teachers directed my learning. They identified the questions that I was to ask. They provided the resources that I needed.

Then I saw this on Twitter today.

The idea that work is a location is quickly fading. School as a location is a notion that will fade away too. Gr8 catch

It made me think.

I work from home. I work in my car. I work at Biggby's Coffee.

I work during the day. I work at night.

I work during the traditional work week. I also work on the weekends.

It's not that I work all the time, it's that I work not only at work but also when I need to in places and at times that would be considered unconventional.

Work is no longer, for me, defined by a place or a time.

Work is now about getting things done. Sometimes that happens in my office or in my school district.

Other times it happens at night, on the weekends, through Twitter chats, through reading, through listening.

The answers that I seek are not in a book. They are in a thousand books, and articles, and websites, and conversations with colleagues.

If where I work is no longer defined by a place and occurs at times and at places that don't fit in a box, maybe there is another way to look at learning.

I still consider myself a learner and I learn in a whole host of ways. I learn via webinars. I learn by reading. I learn by engaging colleagues through Twitter. I learn by going to conferences and attending sessions. I learn by watching YouTube videos. I learn by listening.

There is value in learning at a place and with other people. There is value in having someone guide me as I learn.

But . . . there is also value in exploring on my own, with colleagues, in ways that would be defined an un-traditional.

As work transforms from a place, I should look to see how school can transform as well.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Letting happiness find me

I've been thinking about happiness lately. Questions abound.

What is it?

How do you find it?

How do you keep it?

Recently, I've thought more about happiness than usual. Finding happiness and keeping happiness seem harder than ever.

I certainly don't have all the answers to what happiness means, how to find it, and how to keep it, but I know I want to be happy.

There are books and books and websites on happiness. I've read some but I've thought more.

Here's what I think I know.

Happiness comes not from accumulating things but from developing relationships.

Happiness comes not from being somebody but from helping someone else up.

Happiness is not an end in itself but a result of being involved in something meaningful beyond yourself.

Happiness does not mean that you don't hurt or grieve or suffer.

Happiness comes because you care about making the world a better place.

School superintendents are supposed to be focused on outcomes and test results and curriculum and budgets. I focus on those. I recognize that those are important.

But, more importantly, I want to focus on serving my family, my school district, my students, my staff, and my community. If I do that  - happiness will find me.