U: Unwritten & Unspoken
One of the ideas I have been reflecting on are the rules and norms in our communities that are unwritten or unspoken. Whenever you accept a new job, building relationships and learning the culture of your new community is an important first step. Some aspects you can learn by reading documents (district/ site plans, meeting minutes, agendas, etc.) and others you can learn by listening and observing in as many situations as possible.
Despite all of those options, there are still cultural aspects you cannot learn right away, at least not explicitly. The unwritten and unspoken norms. Sometimes these become the elephants in the room. That-which-we-shall-not-discuss.
To me, strong leaders address the unwritten norms that hurt a culture. True leaders recognize the unspoken agreements that hold back a school from moving forward for the benefit of all students.
While it may not be easy, it is important. When I think about the values I hold for social justice in our school system, I think about the unspoken norms I have seen in some communities- the unwritten belief that not all students can learn, or that not all students deserve a full, rich, engaging educational experience each and every day.
So now I think about how we, as leaders, can cultivate a growth mindset culture. How we can support systems that expect the best from everyone- students, staff, parents, and leaders. What can we do to address the unwritten or unspoken norms that are holding us back?
Reflective questions to consider:
- How do you learn and address unwritten or unspoken norms?
- What examples of unwritten norms have you experienced?
- How are you infusing growth mindset into your work?
Abecedary of Reflection
What I have done about changing unspoken norms is to lead by example. I do bring up the elephant in the room and I make sure to always be positive. Teachers and staff at our school know how I feel about all students and how I believe they can all learn. It has been work in progress but I think I have earned their trust and respect.
Veronica, Thank you for reading and sharing your ideas! I agree that trust and respect go a long way in having the difficult conversations! I honor your commitment to ALL students!
I especially appreciate when the unspoken gets spoken. Thank you for the reminder!
Thank you for reading and commenting Barb! Those who wear the cape speak the words that need to be said.