Leading by Example to Promote implementation of the vision
Reflection and Commitment Blog 1
With the start of the 2015, I found myself thinking a lot about habits, but was hesitant to form new habits since I felt like my life was not in order. Was this the right time to form a new habit? In terms of forming good habits or improving old ones, as well as limiting bad habits, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is easier to replace a bad habit with a good habit than it is to completely give up a bad habit without anything in return.
In his blog, The Community, Stephen Covey looks at seven habits of highly effective people. Habit 1: Be Proactive is at the top of his list. Being proactive is all about the choices we make everyday and about taking responsibility for these choices. I’d like to think that I am a very proactive person. However, reflecting on what it means to be proactive over the past several days, I realize that being proactive does not come natural for me and I often find myself being reactive in certain situations instead.
Today at work, I began the day with an experiment—I was going to be proactive throughout my day. I slowed down, thought about what I was going to say before saying it, was more aware of the choices I made throughout the day and the language I used. Although I know I’m responsible for my behavior, I still find myself assigning blame to circumstance. So how did being proactive effect my day? The first half of my day went well. I focused on things I had influence over: my students, work related problems, and tasks requiring a response. The later part of the day was a different story all together. A family emergency arose and I found myself perhaps a bit less proactive in the situation. With my students, I decided to try out the three-person process. I have an activity I like to do with students called a “table rally”. Basically, it works like the three-person process. However, I often find that students prefer to hand the student in the listening role their notes and skip the “teaching part” of the process. Today, I started off by re-emphasizing the teaching aspect and I included suggestions they might use to make what they are teaching more interesting. I was pleasantly surprised. When I visited groups, many were so into the story they were presenting, they did not even look at their notes. And student’s who never used to ask questions when taking notes about a topic were asking for clarification because they didn’t want to teach information incorrectly. I was quite pleased. By the way, it’s a 10th grade World History class. I wonder if this might work with my 7th graders?
To become a leader others trust and want to follow, being proactive is a step in the right direction, but again, it is easier to replace an old habit than to adopt a new one. So, I decided to separate the personal and the interpersonal.
Personal Habits and Becoming Proactive
Old Habit: Not tracking Expenses. This is somewhat an embarrassing habit, but my husband and I do not jointly track our expenses. Part of embracing 2015, involves being more proactive with our expense tracking. We agreed that I will do research for online/App expense tracking software that we will jointly use to track our expenses. This is the first time since living together and getting married we are committed to a joint expense ledger (I know this sounds strange for most married couples).
Replacing Old Habit: Tracking Expenses
1) We spoke and decided on a plan of action
2) I will research technologies suited to our needs and teach him how the App/software works.
3) At the end of each week, we will treat ourselves to a reward (dinner out or a movie). If we are not successful, we will spend some quality time together doing this at home.
4) Once we reach our goal and see the benefit, the habit will hopefully be internalized and the reward, perhaps not as essential.
Interpersonal Habits and Becoming Proactive at Work
Old Habit: Mismanagement of Workflow
Replacing Old Habit: Using the Getting Things Done (GTD), workflow model by David Allen to improve management of work and resources. This is something I’ve been wanting to tryout for a while now. The GTD workflow model involves five steps: collect, process, organize, plan, and do. The goal behind this is approach is to limit procrastination, increase productivity, and ultimately “Get Things Done.”
Proactive Coaching: 10th Grade (AP World History)
Achieving balance with AP students can be more difficult than it might seem. Often times, students in AP courses take on much more than they realize and do not have the skills to manage it all. I try to teach my AP World History students survival skills or “habits” to manage the “paper beast” or what now-a-days, might be referred to as the “abundance of information”.
1) Overall course management strategies—what worked first semester (approach to projects) and what areas need improvement (approach to essays)
2) Second Semester Honest Motivational Talk Connected with the goal of Improving Exam Essay scores and building self-esteem
3) Setting goals for improving writing and coaching one another (team building and renewed course commitment)
4) Strategy used to debrief Document Based Essay (DBQ) this week: Revisited thesis statements and worked in groups to revise thesis statements, additional documents, and points of view claims. The power of models goes along way.
5) Goal: Still trying to get them all on board with Google accounts. Want to use Google Hangouts for online office hours and review.
Observation: Passion, willpower, and validation motivates commitment.
So why are human behaviors compelled by habit and why focus on willpower?
The Power of Habit: Charles Duhigg at TEDxTeachersCollege