An Experiment with Emotional Intelligence

I’ve been thinking of an idea that might make me and my colleagues play to our strengths for the rest of the year. I think we need to spend some time working out who we are as people, what our interests and strengths are and what we are terrible at or unwilling to do. If we can become more aware of our competences and incompetences, we can work more fluidly and allow each other the space, time and trust to develop things from our own perspective and expertise as part of an honest team. For example, I am a pretty disorganized person. I start a lot things that I don’t finish and I have trouble with keeping records. I need reminders about events and about deadlines for things that are not immediately important – in my opinion! But, will I change? Should I change? Do I have to change? These are my fundamental weaknesses, but I have many strengths too. Rather than try to eradicate my weaknesses or enforce that I do things in a way that does not come naturally, should I be trying to use my strengths as much as possible safe in the knowledge that there is support for the weaknesses?

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2 comments

  1. Cristina

    Hi Sam,

    The ideal situation would be to change what you perceive as weaknesses – we ask that from our students as well, more or less. After awareness stage comes the “planning” phase – what can I do to change that? (“If you ‘re not part of the solution then you’re part of the problem”- a quote that popped out of nowhere, H. Ford, I guess).
    Fortunately, my colleague and I are complementary – she is the “organized”, meticulous one and I am the “creative” person. We alternate tasks and school duties and I am more than happy to have her by my side.
    As for the wider school community…we still need to work a lot on that. Time is a major obstacle and I honestly admit I know only my grade-level teachers as they are the ones I meet most frequently. That is the reason I created a school ning 🙂
    Thanks for reflecting on issues that sometimes slip our (busy) minds!
    Cheers!
    Cristina

  2. Mr. Sam

    Hi Cristina,

    Thanks for your reply.

    Do you think we always need to change though? After the awareness stage, instead of saying “how can we change that” couldn’t we say “how can we support you?” or “how can we liberate you from worrying about that?”. I’m imagining that groups of teachers are all very different and, if aware of each other, can provide support for each other in different ways.

    I had a similar relationship with my last teaching partner, Chad Walsh, to the one you seem to have at the moment. We really complemented each other and, as a team, were far more effective than either of us was individually. You can read about Chad and I in Bill and Ochan Powell’s new book about teaching with emotional intelligence! The rest of the book is pretty good too!!!

    Sam

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