One of the original LYS reader’s shares:

“I want to add another thought or two on this idea of congeniality.

When we talk about a sense purpose in education, I claim it is missing. As a profession, we can’t even agree on who is a “drop out.” In military operations there may be disagreements on strategy and tactics, but seldom purpose. In education we agree our purpose is to “educate”, but what does that mean? It depends on your opinion.

Making money is making money, and killing the enemy is killing the enemy. Tactics and strategy may differ on those goals, but the outcome is the same. In education we have no well defined “outcome.” Accountability is changing that, but we are not where we need to be.

On the issue of congeniality, it reminds me of the war where brothers fought brothers, the Civil War. Congeniality is, from Latin, the personification of ones own desires and inclinations. Collegiality is shared power and authority among colleagues. BIG difference. Back to the civil war. The book “On Killing,” by Dave Grossman is worth a read. The book explores how the military had to continually revamp training in order to get men to kill each other. Great history and psychology is discussed from the civil war era all the way to modern warfare. Congenial soldiers tend to focus on their desire to remain alive (everyone’s most fundamental desire on the battlefield). Collegial soldiers fight side by side for a common shared purpose, killing the enemy to achieve victory.

They still want to stay alive of course, but will do extraordinary things in order to achieve a purpose, even if that means dying. Grossman points out that this is not innate to men. Men don’t want to kill each other (a military purpose). Rather, men have to be conditioned to overcome the aversion to the obstacle (killing) in order to achieve the goal (victory) Grossman never really discusses congeniality versus collegiality, but the concepts are there. Grossman explores how the military had to de-sensitize men to killing, via training, in order to achieve a goal.

In education we must overcome the obstacle (ineffective instruction) in order to achieve our goal (educating children). We have to de-sensitize teachers, especially secondary teachers, to their fascination with being “college professors” in their classroom. How we do this does not include congeniality, in my opinion. Congeniality is inherently self-serving. We must find a way to get beyond this as collegial professionals.

Maybe too deep for the blog, but I wanted to share this with the LYS Nation since we seem to share a common vision and purpose.”

SC Response:
Too deep? This could have been an executive summary of a dissertation. Which means that this is a typical warm-up conversation for the average LYS leader/reader. But, I think we may be out thinking ourselves when it comes to this discussion.

What is our primary goal as education leader? Maximizing student opportunities.

What is the most effective and efficient way to maximize student opportunities? High quality, initial classroom instruction.

How do we ensure high quality, initial classroom instruction?
1. Provide teachers with necessary tools and instructional resources.
2. Provide teachers with on-going training in the use of those tools and resources.
3. Define instructional expectations.
4. Provide on-going training and support to ensure the meeting of instructional expectations.

Those that are doing their part to fulfill the mission of maximizing student opportunity receive our full support and recognition. Those who do not receive our full supervisory attention.

Here’s the kicker though, the staff doesn’t have to like you or like doing it. If fact, during the initial stages, just going through the motions is enough. We are working with students. Once teachers see their students perform at higher levels, their hearts will follow their new habits. Or they will leave because they don’t want to meet the new instructional expectation.

Either way, you are still not “liked” and students win. Sounds like leadership to me.

Think. Work. Achieve.

Your turn…