Why Some Teachers Resist Your Support (and what you can do about it)


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You're listening to School Leadership Reimagined, episode number 257.

Hey builders. Before we begin, I have a quick question for you. Are We Connected on social media? The reason I'm asking is because as much as I love giving you the podcast episode every single week, I'd love to take our relationship deeper. So if we're not connected on on social media, let's connect. I'm on LinkedIn at Robyn, underscore mind steps. I'm on Twitter at Robyn underscore mind step someone's on Facebook and Robyn Jackson, please, let's connect so we can keep the conversation going. Now on with the show, you're listening to the school leadership reimagined podcast episode 257. How do builders like us make a dramatic difference in the lives of our students in spite of all the obstacles we face? How can you keep your vision for your school from being held hostage by resistant teachers, uncooperative parents, ridiculous district policies or lack of time, money or resources. If you're facing those challenges right now, here's where you'll find the answers strategies, and actionable tips you need to overcome any obstacle you face. You don't have to wait to make a difference in the lives of the people you serve. You can turn your school into a success story right now with the people and resources you already have. Let's get started.

Hey, builders, welcome to another episode of the school leadership reimagined podcast. I'm your host, Robyn Jackson. And I want to ask you something. You feel a little overwhelmed right now. I know I am. And I just want to know as anybody else out there, feeling overwhelmed. I don't know what it is about this time of the year. But lately, I've just been feeling like there's just so much to do and and and I just I you know, the deadlines are showing up. There's a ton of resources that I'm building right now for inside a builder ship university that we're debuting over the summer and I'm behind. And does anybody else feel that way? Anybody else feeling behind right now? Well, if that's you, then I want you to stick around for today's episode, because I think I found the solution. Now before we dive in couple of big announcements.

One is, if you are not already signed up for our email list, or you are not a member of the school leadership, reimagined Facebook group, you are really missing out because over the next month or so, we're going to be releasing a ton of new resources, we're going to be releasing some just some of the resources that have that we that we have inside a bill to ship University, we're going to make some of those tools and templates available for people who are not in bill to ship University yet. And we're going to do some micro trainings, these are 10 to 15 minute trainings, they have a workbook and you go through the training, you learn how to do something very specific that can help you solve a specific problem that you're facing in your school. You go through the training and by the time you're done with the training, you work along with the workbook, you have what you need to solve that problem and and implemented immediately in your school. So if you are not on the email list, or you are not a member of the school leadership, reimagined Facebook group, you are really missing out. So go to school leadership reimagined.com and sign up or find school leadership reimagined Facebook group on Facebook and sign up for the Facebook group. So you won't miss out. Now those of you who are builders ship University, all of these trainings will be going inside of the vault so you won't miss a thing. All right, that's the first announcement. 

The second announcement is that I have two slots left for spring consulting. So as you know, I from time to time will work individually with someone for a discreet period of time to solve a specific problem. And usually it's with a superintendent or district administrator, especially because builders should be universities focused on principals. So if you are a superintendent, a district administrator, and there's a there's a challenge that you're facing right now, your your schools are not progressing the way that you want. You're having trouble with your team. And you want to build some structures for your team so that everything doesn't fall on you and your team can take on more ownership or you are trying to put some systems in place to make your work easier. Then we can work together for a month. We look at the challenges you're facing, we figure out what the root causes. And then together we build the systems I give you the tools, the templates, and then we put things in place so that you can solve that problem and make your life easier. We have two slots available for this spring. If you're interested in one of those slots number one, you need to be a C For intendant, or a district administrator, and then number two, if that if you meet the first requirement and you also believe in builder ship, then just send me an email at info at mind steps inc.com, let me know you're interested, we'll get a time together to talk, if it makes sense. If it's something that I can really help you with, and it's a good fit, then we'll start working together 30 days from the moment we start working together, problem solved systems in place. And then you can go on and live your life. So again, if you are interested in you are a district administrator, or a superintendent, and you want to work with me one on one to solve a problem you're facing right now. Just send an email to info inf o at mind, steps inc.com. And then let's see if we're a good fit. Okay, so those are my two big announcements. 

Let's talk about this feeling overwhelmed. 

I can't tell you, I mean, for the last month, I have felt so overwhelmed. I, you know, I have the stack of things. I'm trying to do this new resources. I'm trying to build a test, I've been feeling really overwhelmed. And I'll be honest, I flipped back into a little bit of that leadership mind, right. I didn't mean to, and I think like a builder 90% of the time, but there's still 10% of me that sometimes slips into leadership. And because I was feeling so overwhelmed, I just immediately thought about, okay, look, I've got this stack of things that I need to do. Let me just plow through this stack of things and get them all done so that I would feel better. So I worked late, a couple of days, I just put my head down, I just worked through the stack of stuff. And the problem is that even though I did that I didn't feel better. I thought I would feel less overwhelmed. I thought I'd feel a sense of accomplishment. But even though I did a lot, I mean, I got a lot done. I still felt overwhelmed. I still felt anxious, I still felt like, you know, things weren't done and I was missing something. Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever felt even though you get all your work done, you go home and you still feel overwhelmed, you still feel stressed? That's how I was feeling. And so I was trying to figure out what was going on. 

And I sat down and I said, Okay, let's let's micro slice this thing, right? So those of you can be you you know this, right? Whenever there's a problem, we always try to get to the root cause stop chasing symptoms. And I realized that plowing through that big stack of work on my desk was just chasing symptoms. So I said, Okay, let's figure this out. And as I began to do that, I was, you know, I took my notebook out, I start writing, start listing everything, I began to realize something, there was a there's a new have a new definition of overwhelm the root cause, I believe, of why so many of us feel overwhelmed, is because it's not because of the work we have, right? We feel it's we think we feel overwhelmed, because there's so much work to do. But in reality, the reason that we feel overwhelmed the source, the root of it, is that we have on made decisions.

Overwhelm is not about undone work. It's about unmade decisions. And you cannot solve overwhelmed by just sticking, putting your head down and just plowing through your work. You only solve overwhelm by confronting the on made decisions. Now, the problem is, most of us cannot confront the unmade decisions. The reason those decisions are kind of unmade in the first place, is because we spend the majority of our time working in our schools, and not on our schools. So if you want to solve overwhelm, you have to confront the unmade decisions, but you can't confront your unmade decisions if you don't take time to step away and work on your school instead of always working in your school. So that's what I want to talk to you about today. How what how do we deal with overwhelm and eliminate it? And how do we put habits in place so that we rarely, if ever feel overwhelmed in the first place? So the first thing is that a lot of us think we don't have time right now to work on our school. 

So we're busy kind of doing the day to day stuff. 

We're too busy to work on our school to work on the things that we need to work on. And so we think, oh, I'll just do it this summer. That right now I just have to get through the end of the school year. But getting through the end of the school year actually increases your overwhelm, because there's just so many decisions that go unmade and they begin to pile up and that's why so many of us are so exhausted by the end of the school year because we keep thinking we'll deal with it this summer, when actually next school year is being built right now, I always say that that, that by the time you get to the summer, it's almost too late. The things that you need to be doing the decisions that you need to be making that that saw things now and put you in a better position set you up for success next year, getting made right now. And so when you put off those decisions until the summer, you're waiting until it's too late. And then you're just kind of trapped. Because you've already done your master schedule. You've already hired people, you've already assigned people, you've already done all the things. And so now you're stuck in in a in a in a structure that doesn't quite work. And you have to live with it for a whole nother year. Because you put off making some really important decisions right now, the movie saying no, not I'm doing my master schedule right now. But if you haven't figured out your vision, your 100% vision, your mission, your core values, your one plan, your master schedule is kind of trash because the moment if you think you're going to figure your vision mission, core values and your one plan over the summer, but you built your master schedule. 

Now the master schedule is not built to support your vision, mission core values, and your one plan. So it's setting you up for for failure later on. And you have to live with it if dissatisfied, and you have to work around it, because you didn't make those decisions now. All right. Well, I'll build my feedback structure this summer. Okay, great. Listen, whenever you build a feedback structure, it's going to work for you. But what if you built it right now? What if you made some decisions right now about how you give feedback? What if because you had a feedback structure in place, when you went into classrooms, you could understand people's people's the source of why people's instruction is either working or not working now. And you could have a really good landscape of your staff by the end of the school year, what if you then created a teacher dashboard, where you could see the landscape of the needs of your teachers by the end of the school year, so that you could think about pD over the summer and plan PD for all next year, so that you can find ways to support teachers and give teachers direction so that as they are working over the summer, they're doing work that helps them come back to school in the fall a better teacher. Think about the difference that can make what if right now, instead of waiting until the summer, you right now started looking at some of the key systems in your school, analyzing those systems and understanding why they were either working or not working and began putting things in place. 

Now to build those systems. How much easier would your summer be? How much stronger would next school year big. But because you think, Oh, I can't think about those things right now. I'll worry about it over the summer, you are delaying the most important decisions that you can be making right now. And you're feeling overwhelmed. You see, you don't fix overwhelmed by putting off the work that you really shouldn't be doing. Because you're so overwhelmed with the work you kind of have to do. That's not how you fix overwhelm. You fix overwhelm by saying, Listen, I know there's a lot of work there, there will always be a lot of work there. But I need to take time and step aside and work on my school and not in my school. Because the work on your school makes the work in your school easier. That makes sense. You know, I we were in the office hours last week, and we were talking about this, we were talking about how so many people were feeling overwhelmed and behind. And they they they have things they want to do, but they don't feel like they have time to do the work they really want to do because I always been pulled into the work that they have to do like evaluations and hiring and discipline and the into school programs and all the other things that you think you have to deal with right now. But the problem is, the more you work in your school, to the neglect of the stuff you need to do for on your school, the strategic kind of thinking, the less value you get from the work you're doing in your school. If you delay creating a feedback system, writing observations right now, it's pretty overwhelming because you don't have a system. So you're just grinding it out. And you'll do the same thing next year. And the year after that. And the year after that until you decide, You know what, I don't want to do this anymore. 

I need to take a step back. 

And I need to create a system that makes these observations more meaningful. Because if you're just grinding out observations and evaluations right now, because you're trying to hit a deadline, how good is your feedback? How meaningful is your feedback, you are doing busy work, but you are not changing teachers practice. So what's the point? But if you took a step back and said, I'm going to work on my system for feedback, because I need to find a way to make the feedback more meaningful. If you if you took a couple of hours away from your work and you just did that, then when you sat down and you were creating these evaluations and observations, it's not just about hitting a deadline and getting stuff turned in and you're really changing teachers practice, you're really making a difference in the instruction in your school, which is kind of why you're there.

Hey, it's Robyn here real quick, I just want to interrupt this episode for just a second. Because if you are enjoying what you're hearing, then would you mind sharing this episode with somebody else. So all you need to do is just go to your phone, if you're listening to it on your phone, or your podcast player, and then click the three dots next to this episode. And I'll give you the option to share the episode that if you do that, three things are going to happen first, the person that you shared with is going to think you're a hero, especially if they're struggling with what we're talking about right now. They're going to love you. Secondly, you're going to feel good, because you're going to get the word out about builder ship, and start building this builder ship nation. And third, you will get my eternal gratitude, because I really want to get this out to the world. And you'd be helping me out, you'd be doing me a huge favor. So please share this episode with someone right now who's who's dealing with this same issue, someone you think would really benefit. And now back to the show. So if you right now are feeling overwhelmed. First step is you have to take a step back from working in your school, doing the day to day grind, and take time to work on your school, solving some strategic issues making some big decisions that make the day to day grind work easier and more meaningful, and ultimately more satisfying. Because that work is not about just kind of getting it done. That work is actually moving your school where you want to take your school anyway. 

Now some of you are probably thinking right now, yeah, great. I would love to do that. I don't have time to do that. No, you're not taking time to do that. You have the time. But it's not a priority for you. I talk to people all the time. And they say I'd love to join Bu But I'm so busy right now. And I say that's exactly why you need to be in BU because you're busy right now. But what are you busy doing? And they start talking about? Well, it's discipline and and, and so what they're busy doing is solving the same problems that they've solved every single year. When you join BU and you start becoming a builder, you do the work on your school, so that you're being pulled less and less into the work in your school because you're eliminating the problems that you spend all your time trying to solve anyway. So if you feel like you don't have time you do. You're just not taking the time. And let me give you an example. So we were in office hours the other week, and we were talking about like when would people have time? And I just said, what if he just started by committing one hour a week to working on your school? Just one hour a week? What would that look like? And so we started talking about ways to do it. And here's the strategy that we laid out and so those of you who are in bu who missed office hours, keep this in mind especially as you're thinking about doing the things that you're doing it's gonna be you and finding the time for that okay, one hour a week. 

You leave work an hour early. 

Okay, so if you're used to leaving work at five, that one hour a week you leave work at four if you're leaving work at three, what are week you leave work into, you know, just one hour a week, leave work an hour early, but instead of going home, you're going to take yourself someplace else. It could be another friend school and finding a quiet office and another school it could be Starbucks or Panera Bread because they have free internet. It could be you know, someplace else up, you know, you get you you you go to the local community college or university and get a study room, you go to a library someplace where you can be alone, unrecognized, happy, and that has internet access. You take your computer and find that our week you are not working in the school, you're not catching up on your observations or evaluation write ups you're not filling out paperwork for that one hour week. 

You are working on your school, you are looking at the strategic decisions that need to be made and thinking through those decisions and solving stuff. You are making decisions. You are building systems and putting systems in place to make your work easier. In other words, you're not getting stuff done. You are building structures and working on your school so that your school is better so that you have less stuff to do. If you did that one hour a week. Imagine how much you could accomplish. I recently had to do this because again, I told you, I was feeling overwhelmed. And you know, especially with travel picking up for me, I just, I didn't have time to think. And I need time to kind of figure stuff out. And so what I started doing was I started picking, and I do a little bit more than an hour, do a couple of hours a week. And so I pick a day a week, and I block off my calendar for a couple of hours. And I lock myself in my office with my notebook, and my computer. And I just think, during that time, I might learn something or watch a workshop so that I can learn something and then think about how it might apply to the work we're doing. 

During that time I am creating and writing or putting systems in place or tweaking systems or analyzing systems. For that time, I'm not in bu working, I'm working on BU, and the difference that it makes, I leave that our feeling so accomplished. I've worked some things out, you know, the way a team always laughs at me because when I come out of my office, I'm like I've seen inside the matrix, and maybe not, maybe not always. But a lot of times the stuff that's been piling up the all the decisions that I haven't had time to think through and make, but that I'm carrying the weight of those decisions, that time is my time to pull those things out, confront the decisions that needs to be made, and make decisions but feel confident about the decisions that I've made. And since I've started doing that, I don't feel overwhelmed anymore. And so I want to encourage you, not only to kind of take that, you know, to start working on your school, not just in your school, but to be intentional about that. Sit down, if you have a secretary block off this time, leave the building, some people I tell some people do it at lunchtime, you know, they say listen, I don't you know, the evenings are different at all time in the evenings. So they leave for an hour for lunch, you leave the building, go to meetings all the time central office, and so you can leave the mill building for an hour to go work on your school, it's not like you're loafing off, I always like to make it a treat. So you know, I go get my favorite coffee, or I, I, if I'm home, I brew myself a cup of coffee and sit on my little couch and look out the window, and I have my favorite pen. 

Take that time for you. 

It's not self care, it's work. I mean, there are there. I mean, there may be some self care elements in it, but it's really work. So I'm not telling you, you know, get a spot, you know, yeah, if you want to do that great. What I'm telling you right now is to take the time to work on your school, create and carve out a space that is protected. It's just as sacred as if you had a meeting with the superintendent, you leave the building, you commit to at least an hour, you do it at least once a week, you can do it more than once a week if you want. But at least once a week for one hour, you leave the building, either leave work an hour early, and then stop on your way home and then go home. And let me just say this, I mean, maybe you're disciplined enough to do it at home, I don't know that I am. Because once I get home, I want to you know, drop everything and you know, turn into a vegetable. So I would suggest you do it on your way home, leave an hour earlier, walk out the school building, drive yourself someplace else, spend an hour dealing with confronting all of those unmade decisions, spend an hour putting things in place to make the school better. So you're not always putting out our fires, spend that hour preventing fires, putting things in place to prevent fires. And when you do that, you will not feel overwhelmed, guaranteed because you spent that time making decisions working on your school so that your school is better. 

Now, the last thing is that I think for some people, they they avoid doing that they avoid working on their schools, because they don't really know what to do. Like, they know how to sit down and just grind it out and do the paperwork. They're avoiding confronting those decisions, because they don't really know what to do about those decisions. They're, they're avoiding working on their school because they don't know what to do. And if that's you, I want to say this to you. Avoiding it will make it go away. It's just going to make the feelings of overwhelm even greater. One of the reasons that I felt overwhelmed over the past month was because there was something I knew I had there were some unmade decisions. I just didn't know what to do. And so I was spending a lot of time consuming a lot of free material, trying to figure it out, you know, to read this person or that person I look for solutions. I look online and see what other people are doing. And all that did was add to my overwhelm. Because, again, I created another I made decision, the original decision, what do I do about this? And now an additional decision because that consumed all this stuff, which one of these things should I do? And so instead of making me feel better, the more I just was out here looking for all this free stuff. And consuming this and doing that reading this article and looking at this research, and, oh, maybe I'll read this book, and, you know, five and six books open around, the more I did that, the more overwhelmed I felt, because now I couldn't figure out which one's the right one. 

And so, if you're feeling that way, if you are avoiding working on your school, and you're you're hiding out by working in your school, because you're not sure what to do, then I'm going to tell you what I did. I stopped listening to all those other things. And I just picked one thing. I said, I stopped, I sat down, and I said, I'm looking for everything. And I'm reading all this stuff. And everybody has an opinion about what I should do. What am I trying to accomplish? And which one of these strategies is designed to do that, that aligns with my vision, my mission, my core values. And once I thought I picked that, everything else, I closed up all the books, I closed up all the windows, and I still still have about like, 50, some windows open on my, my computer right now. Y'all pray for me. But I closed down a couple of windows, I tuned out all the other voices, I stopped paying attention, what is this person doing? I just tuned everything out. And I just picked one thing, and I just said we're gonna do this. And instead of trying to do all the things, when you can settle on one thing, and then just commit to that, it changes everything. I don't feel so overwhelmed anymore. You know, when you make a decision, then I think this is why a lot of people avoid decisions.

When you make a decision, you close off other alternatives. 

And think people like to have all those alternatives available to them. But the more that you have those alternatives available to you, the more you delay making decision. And so having them available to you doesn't serve you because you're not using any of them. So you just need to pick one. You know, those of you who are in B right now, we always talk about what's the one thing what's the one thing I was talking to someone and Wii U A couple of weeks ago, and she was like, yeah, we've got low test scores, and they're going lower, I've got a lot of pressure to raise test scores. So we have all these sticky notes up on the wall of all these things we could do. And I was like, yeah, so that's why you're not doing anything, because you're trying to do everything, pick one thing. So we worked through, we micro slice it down, we got it down to one thing, once you have that one thing, overwhelmed, disappeared. So no more overwhelmed, because now we know what we're focusing on. 

So if you are avoiding working on your school, and you are hiding out in the work, which I think a lot of people do. The reason that you feel overwhelmed and stressed is because you are avoiding making the decision. And the reason you're avoiding making the decision, I believe it's because you're scared to make the wrong decision. Or you feel like if I make this decision, I close off these other alternatives. And so if that's you, here's the solution, you take the list of all the things you could do. And you ask yourself, if I did this one thing and got rid of everything else would that get me to my vision, mission and core values. And you go through the list, and you cross things off, until you get down to the one thing that you believe will truly get you to your vision, mission and core values. And when you do that, you can do it with confidence.

So I had a list of a million things a notebook full of stuff. And then finally, when I said when I asked myself, What is my vision, mission and core values, and of all these alternatives, which one do I believe will get me closest to that? And if I just did this, could I get there? And it helped me cross a lot of things off my list. And then I was down to two different things. And then it's okay, what is what is it about this one that believes that makes me believe I'll get there? What is it about this one that makes me believe I can get there? If I have these elements, but I got rid of these elements. Could I still get there? If I have these elements, but get rid of these elements? Can I still get there? And I kept putting them back and forth and I said what do I truly want and which one is more likely to get what I truly want? And I made a decision and once I did it I didn't worry so much about all the other stuff I was missing out on then that FOMO for all the other cool stuff that was out there, I picked a pony. And I feel like I'm gonna ride that pony into success. And I feel competent about that. The moment I made that decision, it was like a dam broke. And all of that the energy and the passion and the excitement and the, the the flow of ideas just started happening. And I sat down. And even though I was still kind of, you know, working through the pile of things on my desk, all of a sudden at clarity, all of a sudden, I got through stuff faster, all of a sudden, the work didn't feel like a grind, because I knew where I was trying to get, I it actually became enjoyable, and I left work feeling so accomplished. 

No more overwhelm. 

So if you're feeling overwhelmed, right now, the reason that you're feeling overwhelmed, is because you have some unmade decisions. And the only way you're going to be able to make those decisions is that you have to stop working in your school, and take some time so that you can work on your school. And if that means you have to leave the building once a week, protect your time and spend some time working on the school. And if that feels scary to you, because, you know, you have unmade decisions, but you don't even know how to go about making those decisions, then I want to encourage you to spend some time micro slicing your options, so that you can find the option that best aligns with your vision, mission and core values. The moment you do that, the overwhelm disappears, the stress disappears. And instead you feel excitement, because you've made some decisions, you you feel confident those decisions. And now the work makes sense. You're not just getting through the work, the work is carrying you to your goals. That's how you overcome overwhelm, like a builder. Now, if you want my help with that, if, if you're feeling overwhelmed right now, and and you'd like to get some help to overcome the overwhelm to help you make some good decisions to help you put some structures in place now. So that you can go into the summer feeling really confident and excited, you've created the momentum. And the decisions that you make right now are decisions that you can rely on all next year. If that's you, then we should talk if you especially if you're a principal. So if you'd like to do that we have a couple of slots that are opening up inside of builder ship University in the next couple of weeks. And if you want one of those slots, and want to get started right now, all you need to do is go to info at mind steps inc.com info at mine steps inc.com Send me an email letting me know that you're interested in one of those slots. And then let's talk and figure out if it makes sense for you. Okay, so with that, I will see you next time. And this week, I challenge you. Stop avoiding those unmade decisions. Spend some time working on your school, not just in your school, so that you don't feel so overwhelmed. And you can approach your work with the confidence and the passion that comes from being a builder.

Hey, if you're ready to get started being a builder right away, then I want to invite you to join us at builder ship University. It's our exclusive online community for builders just like you where you'll be able to get the exact training that you need to turn your school into a success story right now with the people and resources you already have. Inside. You'll find our best online courses, live trainings with me tons of resources, templates and exemplars and monthly live office hours with me where you can ask me anything and get my help on whatever challenge you're facing right now. If you're tired of hitting obstacle after obstacle and you're sick of tiny little incremental gains each year, if you're ready to make a dramatic difference in your school right now that you need to join bill to ship University. Just go to build a ship university.com and get started writing your school success story today.

Hey, it's Robyn here and I want to thank you for listening to today's episode and if you have a question about today's episode, you just want to keep the conversation going. Did you know that we had a school leadership reimagined Facebook group, all you need to do is Go to Facebook, join the school leadership reimagined Facebook group. Now there are going to be a couple of questions that we asked at the beginning because we want to protect this group and make sure that we don't have any trolls come in and that it really is for people who are principals, assistant principals, district administrators. So make sure you answer those questions or you won't get in but then we can keep the conversation going. Plus, we do a lot of great bonus content. I'm in there every single weekday so if you have a question or comment above the episode, let's continue the conversation. Join us at the school leadership reimagined Facebook group, and I'll talk to you next time.

Thank you for listening to the School Leadership Reimagined podcast for show notes and free downloads and visit https://schoolleadershipreimagined.com/

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