EduQuote of the Week: May 2 – May 8, 2016

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A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dates all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.

– Agatha Christie

 

EduQuote of the Week: April 25 – May 1, 2016

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It’s easy to fool the eye but hard to fool the heart.

– Al Pacino

 

EduQuote of the Week: April 18 – 24, 2016

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You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

– C. S. Lewis

 

Teach & Serve No. 35 – We Should Be Aware of Confidentiality, But Not in the Way One Might Think

Teach & Serve 

No. 35 * April 13, 2016


Related Content from And There Came A Day:


We Should Be Aware of Confidentiality,

But Not in the Way One Might Think

Beware of the word “confidential.” Use it sparingly. Use it wisely. Use it only when you have to use it.  If you say or write the word “confidential” without asking, each-and-every-time, “whose interest am I protecting by walling off this knowledge?” you’re doing it wrong.

There is some kind of deep power in knowing something other people don’t. There is some kind of magic in holding onto a secret, in deciding when to tell, and who. There is some kind of pull to being in the know, in the loop, in the inner circle.

We’ve all felt it, right? At one point or another, we’ve had those moments when we found something out before most others did or when we heard the story prior to it getting out. What is it about being in on the secret that is so enticing?

In school settings, there are hundreds of examples – daily – of things that not everyone needs to know. There are situations with students that should not be revealed. There are personnel issues that should not be broadly discussed. There are decisions that should not be shared too soon. In school settings, there are good reasons to maintain confidentiality – some of them legal, some of them moral and some of them valid.

But not all.

Beware of the word “confidential.” Use it sparingly. Use it wisely. Use it only when you have to use it.  If you say or write the word “confidential” without asking, each-and-every-time, “whose interest am I protecting by walling off this knowledge?” you’re doing it wrong.

Schools work best when knowledge is shared. That’s kind of what they are there for, right? Schools work best when everyone knows as much as they possibly can know. How many times are we going to have to be confronted by stories of school personnel that had knowledge of warning signs about students that they didn’t share until tragedy struck? How many times are we going to see reports of colleagues suspecting something wasn’t quite right with a co-worker and they didn’t tell anyway until it was too late? How many times before we get it?

When I was a dean of students and, later, an assistant principal and a principal, there were many things I didn’t broadly share. Further, there were things that I was constrained to not share at all, by law and true concerns about confidentiality. There were things I didn’t share because they would be damaging or hurtful or illegal to share. There are things that should not and cannot be shared.

But these things are few. And these things are far between.

When the default position of a teacher or administrator when confronted by sensitive information is to hold all those cards as closely to the vest as possible, to prize secrets and horde them, to equate knowledge of what is going on in people’s lives with power, something is very, very wrong.

The work of an educational professional is not to work to keep things secret, it’s to work to bring things to light and understanding.

Those teachers and administrators that get a charge from knowing more than everyone else have forgotten that and they are doing something foolish and potentially dangerous – foolish because, at some point, keeping secrets for no reason undercuts rather than strengthens moral authority and dangerous because, inevitably, things go wrong and things get out. Those teachers and administrators that repeat – as a mantra – “I can’t tell you that. It’s confidential.” are not doing themselves or anyone else any favors.

Teachers and administrators, here’s the thing: what must be, by law, confidential, must be confidential. Period. If it’s illegal to share, don’t share. If you don’t know the law, learn it.

When you know what actually must be kept confidential, file it and share everything else.

Liberally.

Share as much knowledge about students as possible. Share as much about staff as appropriate. Share as much about the state of the school as you can. Create an environment where sharing is the default position.

Beware the word “confidential” and only use it when you must.

EduQuote of the Week: April 11 – 19, 2016

door quotes

If someone is going down the wrong road, they don’t need motivation to speed up. What they needs is education to turn around.

– Jim Rohn

 

EduQuote of the Week: April 4 – 10, 2016

door quotesCelebrate what you’ve accomplished, but raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed.

– Mia Hamm

EduQuote of the Week: March 21 – 27, 2016

door quotesWhat makes Superman a hero, in fact this makes anyone a hero, is not that he has power, but that he has the wisdom and the maturity to use the power wisely.

– Christopher Reeve 

Teach & Serve No. 31 – The Most Interesting Educator

Teach & Serve 

No. 31 * March 16, 2016


Related Content from And There Came A Day:


The Most Interesting Educator

For someone in front of them each teacher is the most interesting educator alive. It’s an as awesome a responsibility as it is awesome.

The “news” that Dos Equis is retiring their “Most Interesting Man in the World” advertising campaign after over a decade of success (I guess they are sending him to Mars for his last commercial) got me thinking about how engaging that campaign was and how many times it made me laugh. A thought that commonly occurs to me followed – what would it be like if society celebrated educators the way it celebrates entertainers or sports figures or subjects of ad campaigns.

It would be kind of cool, wouldn’t it?

So, at the end of last week and into this one, I’ve been tweeting using the hashtag #TheMostInterestingEducatorAlive, commenting about friends of mine I’ve known in my years in education and making some remarks (remarks I found both funny and true) concerning how they affect their students or how they have affected me in their vocations.

Most InterestingI am unsure of just how many teachers and administrators I’ve worked with over the course of my quarter century in education. The total must be over 500, of that much I am certain. Do I remember all of them? No. Certainly not. I wish I did, but my personal data banks are so filled with comic book and Star Trek and Denver Bronco trivia that the important stuff is sometimes forced to the outskirts of my numb skull. No, I don’t remember all of the people with whom I’ve worked.

But this much I do know. I know that to some student they taught, to some athlete they coached or musician they inspired, to some kid in a classroom or some teenager in the cafeteria, they were the Most Interesting Educator Alive.

This is true and it’s also an awesome responsibility. Educators make differences in people’s lives with each moment and in each circumstance. Their actions are remembered. Their word echo.

This is why I wrote “@UrCinnamonGirl knows stories about Traveler that Robert E. Lee himself never did” because her students leave her class with minds filled with the stories of history that make history worth knowing.

This is why I wrote of the talented @Sean_M_O’Dea “he wrote 94 of the 95 Theses.” Of course he didn’t, but to his students, it seems he did. That’s the level of command he brings to his subject.

This is why I wrote “@KellyQuigs knows the real UN could learn a thing or two from her Model UN Club” because she inspires a love of the real world in her kids and they get it.

This is why I wrote “Ice cubes wish they were as chill as @JoeLags.”  His students know that @JoeLags always approaches them calmly and with compassion. They trust him long after they leave his classroom.

 

This is why I wrote that “When Parker Palmer needs leadership advice, he asks @bhobbs63” – he teaches adults what it means to lead.

I’ve tweeted about almost 20 of my colleagues. I’ll continue tweeting about them and I encourage you to do so, too. Choose a teacher, compose a #TheMostInterestingEducatorAlive tweet and remind a teacher of what they meant to you. Remind an administrator of what they did for you. Remind an educator of what they do for eternity.

For someone in front of them each teacher is the most interesting educator alive. It’s an as awesome a responsibility as it is awesome.

EduQuote of the Week: March 14 – 20, 2016

door quotesIf I have any worth it is to live my life for God so as to teach these peoples.

– St. Patrick 

EduQuote of the Week: March 7 – 13, 2016

door quotes

The most valuable player is the one that makes the most players valuable.
– Peyton Manning