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A bit arrogant perhaps...

Many times when we talk about proficiency, we say that the highest form of a student mastery of a given task is their ability to teach it to someone else.

Doesn't this seem a little arrogant that we think our chosen profession is the highest form of accomplishment?

When we talk about student mastery of learning, we have to have a more nuanced approach.

Let's take driving for example. Educators typically say that if you get everything right, you have mastered and should be able to teach it to someone. Just because a 16 year-old gets a perfect score on the written and driving tests doesn't mean that I want that 16 year-old teaching my child (or anyone else's child to drive.

That's why I love this rubric:

 Novice: concept and/or skill is brand new. I’m just getting started in the learning. I need a lot of help and guidance from a teacher. Apprentice: I’m figuring it out, but still need a lot of prompting and support from a teacher for the new concept and/or skill. Practitioner: Concept and/or skill can be done consistently and independently. Now I just need occasional prompting or guidance. Scholar: I can apply the concept and/or skill to new and/or different situations without help from a teacher. I am ready to build on the learning. Change Maker: I can use the concept/skill to make connections with other learning. I understand and can apply, evaluate, analyze, and create using the skill/concept.

Novice: concept and/or skill is brand new. I’m just getting started in the learning. I need a lot of help and guidance from a teacher.
Apprentice: I’m figuring it out, but still need a lot of prompting and support from a teacher for the new concept and/or skill.
Practitioner: Concept and/or skill can be done consistently and independently. Now I just need occasional prompting or guidance.
Scholar: I can apply the concept and/or skill to new and/or different situations without help from a teacher. I am ready to build on the learning.
Change Maker: I can use the concept/skill to make connections with other learning. I understand and can apply, evaluate, analyze, and create using the skill/concept.

This is from Anastasis Academy. There truly are skills where being a novice is just fine. For example, I am a novice at a lot of things. And I probably always will be. I'm ok with that.

I am a change Maker in other areas, where I am really passionate.

We need to focus on making our teachers and students aware of the expectations and needs of different levels of learning as they grow.

We need to determine what knowledge is worth pushing to change maker status and what knowledge is acceptable at the novice level.

In education, we pretend that everyone should succeed at the same level in everything, and we even make goals and work towards that. We need more honesty about what truly matters.


How my procrastination stalled my career

About six years ago I was offered an opportunity, and I passed, because I thought I could do it myself without any help. If I could go back and give myself some advice, I would say, "Do it! Your life will be so much better if you do!"

I love talking to other people and learning about what they are doing. I've known this for years. It is exciting to me to learn about how people do different things.

An idea was forming. I could start a podcast, and talk with amazing people all the time and get a ton of good information.

Transformative Principal is actually 5 years old. You see, I started thinking about it early.

I watched the videos and the webinars for 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever, and didn't really think that I needed any help. I said, "I can set goals all by myself, because I have before."

So, I set a goal to start a podcast, but as I mentioned, I didn't have a plan. It was just to start a podcast.

I debated and hemmed and hawed about what I should do. For almost a YEAR! I finally launched on December 1, 2013, five years ago, instead of six.

What ended up happening because of this procrastination?

I had many different people that I could have interviewed for my podcast go by, without that positive, growth-inducing connection.

I was too scared to ask people to be on the podcast, so I never took action. I didn't have a plan for what to do, so I never started.

In fact, the first person I asked, I was so nervous she would say no I didn't check my email for fear she would reject me.

Had I taken action and joined a goal-setting system, I would have started my podcast much earlier in 2013.

How did that stall my career?

I would be 9 months further into this journey than I am now. Does 9 months really make that much difference?

You bet it does!

There's an old proverb that the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time to plant a tree is today.

My growth over the last nine months has been incredible, and I can't wait to see where I will be in 9 more months!

Because I didn't have a plan or a system, I missed out on opportunities to be successful that I could have experienced.

Look, I'm not depressed or bummed out because I started later than I should have. It's not worth it to ruminate and get all bent out of shape about it.

Here's the takeaway: I thought I could do it myself, without support. I thought I could not afford the cost of the support.

Here's the reality: There are things we can do by ourselves, but we can do them so much easier and better with support.

Starting today, you can get 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever and have support in reaching your goals. I am really excited for where I am going to be in 9 months, and I wish I would have taken the help earlier.


Why I am blogging every single day

About five years ago, I started Transformative Principal. Before that, I blogged regularly at my other blog. My podcast goes there automatically, and that is all well and good, and the posts there have been consistent with the podcast.

When I started the podcast, I said to myself, "This podcast is putting something out there, so that is good enough."

Eventually, I started writing a book, and while Seth Godin has been telling me for years to write daily, I haven't done it, until I started writing the book. Once I did that, I was writing 1000 words per day, sometimes much more.

I had been making excuses about not writing.

On November 1st, I just decided to stop that line of thinking. It had nothing to do with it being the first of the month.

I was ready to start my final 66 day challenge for 2018, and decided I would blog every day. Right now, I am 41 days into my 66 days, and I'm going to continue after the 66 days are over.

Here's three things I get from blogging daily:

  1. An outlet. Sometimes, we are so caught up in our own mind games, we just can't handle it. Blogging daily helps me get that out.
  2. Clarification. There is a lot that goes into writing, and it's not just about the writing. Writing helps me clarify some of my own thoughts.
  3. Reflection. While clarifying my own thoughts, I have also been able to reflect on lessons learned.

It's good. I have missed blogging daily, but glad to be back at it.


Don’t compare yourselves to others

I heard this today in church from Elder J. Devn Cornish:

“Please, my beloved brothers and sisters, we must stop comparing ourselves to others. We torture ourselves needlessly by competing and comparing. We falsely judge our self-worth by the things we do or don’t have and by the opinions of others. If we must compare, let us compare how we were in the past to how we are today--and even to how we want to be in the future. The only opinion of us that matters is what our Heavenly Father thinks of us.”

I’m going to continue talking and emailing about goal setting, and if you set goals and desires so that you can compare to others, you will always feel inadequate.

I can’t tell you enough how powerful it has been for me to learn, slowly, so slowly, this skill. I still have a long way to go, but my millimeters of growth in the last couple years has taken kilograms off my shoulders.

A few years from now, I know I will be even further along, and can’t wait for that.


Blockchain in Education

I don't understand blockchain well enough to comment too much on this, but the thought greatly intrigued me, and it happened to be the first few seconds of this podcast: StartEdUp with Don Wettrick and Jeremy Williams.

Anything that will get us further away from meaningless grades is a step in the right direction.

Imagine if the feedback we gave students actually mattered! It would be incredible.

Take a listen to this podcast and I'd love to hear your thoughts. Yes, I've already reached out to Jeremy to learn more about how this could work.

Side bonus: the school evaluation model in UAE sounds really fascinating, too! Much better than basing it all on test scores.


My Unmet Dream for 2018

I have had a great 2018 so far. Life is wonderful. But it's not perfect.

I had a couple goals this year that I really didn't do well on, and abandoned part way through the year.

One goal was a fitness goal. I want to be in much better shape than I am now, but I just couldn't make it happen this year.

Now I know why.

I just watched Michael Hyatt's Video: 3 Necessary Ingredients to make 2019 Your Best Year Ever.

It was really good. It showed me what I was lacking.

I thought that setting the goal was good enough. The ingredient that I was missing was a solid plan.

But, here's the thing, I knew I needed a plan, but I procrastinated making the plan. I didn't want to do it right away for some reason, I don't know why.

Then, I just kept putting it off.

I should have made the plan right away. I didn't. And so, eventually, it just got away from me and there was no way to get back on the horse.

There are two more ingredients in Michael's video. Go check those out and see what you need to do to make 2019 amazing.


Actually, we don't want everyone to learn the same thing...

One of the lies we tell in Education is that a Diploma means something.

Well, it does mean something, but it doesn't mean the same thing to everyone.

A high school diploma in the United States currently says one thing: A student sat in a chair for a certain number of hours for a certain number of days attending a certain set of courses, probably.

Different districts have different requirements of what is required for a high school diploma, which falls into each of the categories above:

  1. How many hours did a student
  2. attend a select
  3. choice of courses

Some districts require students to take very specific courses, and others require different courses. Some states have statutes that require certain skills to be taught, where others don't require those things.

Some states have enacted legislation that requires students to have courses that include instruction on dating violence or sexual assault or suicide prevention. Some states require certain levels of math (algebra I being the typically minimum).

What we need to get to is the idea that not everyone has to learn the same thing--You see, we think this is what we mean when say that a high school diploma means something. We think a high school diploma means that anyone with that diploma has learned certain things.

What we have learned from employers and colleges is that kids are coming to them underprepared straight out of high school.

Everybody likes to blame the people below them, but the real problem is that our expectation is that everyone is at the same level.

They're not. And they never will be.

Because people are individuals.

Two kids can sit through the same class and get dramatically different things from that class.

We need a system where we can actually say what kids are capable of, independently and with support.

This requires LOTS of very difficult changes, because we have been brought up ourselves in this system and change is hard. It's not impossible.

I want you to join me in that work.


Returning the Favor

Returning the Favor is a show with Mike Rowe about giving back to people who do awesome things. The episode linked above is about a former teacher who collects schools supplies because schools are underfunded.

This is a feel-good show about good people doing good things. I love this kind of stuff. Remember Extreme Home Makeover? Lots of "I'm not crying, you're crying" going on there.

The only problem is it looks like the show is only available on Facebook, which is not where I want to watch long-form video.

Thanks Ben Gilpin for sharing it.