A couple days ago, Daniel Bauer issued a small challenge.
He asked if anyone was interested in joining a workshop with Seth Godin. I had just listened to Seth on Tim Ferris' podcast, and I have been a follower for a while, but haven't really engaged with him, yet. This was an instant yes.
I saw the opportunity and I took it. This would mean getting up at 4 am on a Thursday, to make it to the gym before the 5 am start time. Which also meant that this three-hour workshop would be completed before I was even due at work. The beauty of Alaska Standard Time!
I like being productive in the mornings, and by the time this three hour workshop was over, I was tired.
The goal was eleven 15-20 minute modules in that time period. It was going to be a whirlwind.
Processes always fascinate me and this workshop had a unique approach.
All 660 participants were invited to a temporary slack team to discuss the agenda for that day. There are a couple awesome things about Slack:
- It is very easy to use
- You can have small "rooms" (channels) of 8-10 people instead of seeing a waterfall of 660 peoples' comments.
- Within the channel, you can create small, subject-focused discussions as well
With Posts or Files, you can upload something and then comment on it. This makes it so that you can have a little mini-discussion off to the side.
What I Learned
This is the best part. The modules were Seth being Seth, which is cool. He is insightful and asks questions that help you think.
The most powerful module for me was "Selling the Dream". In it, Seth asked us to define the vision from four points of view, all of which are true. I stretched a little on the fourth one, and it is not quite there, but here are my responses.
- Michelle is a 8th grade math teacher. She has been seeing great success in her students lately, and as she gets up this morning, she is excited to see what is on the docket today. Being flexible enough to see the needs of every student met takes a lot of work, but it is so worth it. She works hard to know her students strengths and weaknesses so she can meet them where they are.
- Rachel and John have always dreaded parent teacher conferences, and have thought about not attending, but this year, something in the their son is different. He actually says math is fun. The extra class he is taking is taught by a compassionate teacher who says he is actually doing well and not misbehaving. Rachel and John are actually looking forward to parent teacher conferences because it is the first time they aren't expecting a bad report.
- Coming home from school everyday has been the same for Billy for the last 5 years. "What did you learn in school today?" his mom asks. "Nothing." But this year, there is something different. Billy actually understands what he learned and why he learned it. He is able to direct his own learning at times, and is able to explore things he is passionate about, but knows he is still getting the education he is "supposed to get"
- Mr. Johnson has lived across the street from the school for years. He has complained to every principal about the rotten kids since his own kids stopped going to that school. The trash, the loud kids, the disrespect. But since this new principal came, the kids seem better behaved, the trash is cleaned up, and he actually sees kids outside doing things to make the community better. He doesn't know what they're teaching in school these days, but he is glad that school finally woke up and taught the right things.
This workshop stretched me, made me think, made me write, and made me grateful.
I am so excited that the first three on the above list really are true. There was a perception of the middle school before I came here that was not great. I've heard multiple times this school year that the middle school has changed, that it is now the place to be. I couldn't agree more.
I feel so blessed to be able to work where I do.
If you ever have the chance to take an intense 3-hour lightning-fast course from Seth, I'd highly recommend it.