TEAM WORK

Image result for team work

We talk about team work and how important it is in our personal and professional lives but not all of us know the true meaning of “team”. In other words, we talk the talk but have hard time when it is time to walk the walk.

After many days of planning the field trip and a picnic, they were cancelled on the morning of due to rain. Children were disappointed, parents who planned to volunteer were frustrated and some of the teachers were upset because of this cancellation. I was confused as to why everyone showed such negative reaction. We cannot control the weather and we must keep children’s safety and well being at the top of everything else. Should we have taken the children out in the rain? Should we have allowed them to sit on the wet grass? What would be better than cancelling the events?

You hear a teacher saying to a parent “Oh well, they just cancelled the trip on us!”. What do you think? How does it make you feel?

  1. Is this teacher being a team player?
  2. Is the teacher blaming the decision maker for making this call to keep children safe and healthy?
  3. How could the teacher share the not so happy news with the parent?
  4. Does the teacher prefer children getting wet and catching a cold in a 42 degree day?

It is important to think before saying things in any situation but it is a must especially when people are frustrated and or disappointed. It is crucial to know what to say and how to say it so that you are being a team player. Let’s rewind the video:

Image result for team work

“After many days of planning the field trip and a picnic, they were cancelled on the morning of due to rain. Children were disappointed, parents who planned to volunteer were frustrated and some of the teachers were upset because of this cancellation.” The teacher approaches the parent who is frustrated and says “I know it is disappointing but WE had to cancel it due to rain. WE will come up with a future date and let you know. WE are sad as well”.

When you are part of a team, you need to be in it all the way. Highs, lows, in between. Success, mistake, failure. Easy and difficult no matter what the situation is, you stand by your team. If not, you are not part of the team and no one in the team can and will trust you. When you work as a team as in “one band, one sound” the taste of success is sweeter, the experience is richer and the benefits are greater.

Image result for team work

Another analogy I like is the “puzzle”. Think about the puzzles in your classroom or your home. If one piece out of 20, 100 or 500 piece puzzle is missing you cannot complete the picture. Most likely, you need to throw it away because it no longer makes sense to keep it. It is the same with the team. All members need to work together and complete each other. It is not about the individual pieces but about the big picture each piece creates by connecting with another.

If you have a team member who is having hard time understanding the team concept, reach out to them. Model and explain how it really works. Focus on their positive sides and pull them in and up. This is also an example of team work.

Learning from experience…

Image result for learning from experience

I picked up my son from school yesterday and rushed to the grocery store for a couple of quick items that I forgot to purchase over the weekend. Knowing that snow was on the way I was trying to be proactive by not waiting for the last minute. Almost every parking space was taken yet I did not allow it to discourage me. As I picked up my items in less than 10 minutes, my son asked for seltzer water. Normally I never allow him to carry anything in glass container but I was so determined and focused to get out of the store and head home before snow started coming down hard, I allowed him to carry the bottle. He knelt down all tired after a long day at school and “BOOM!!” went the bottle. Apparently he was walking and shaking it not realizing it is fizzy and the pressure would cause it to burst into pieces.

There I was… scared, frazzled and checking his face and hands praying that he did not get hurt. I notified the store right away, paid for the items and left the store. As we got on the elevator he started crying. I then realized how scared he was. We rushed into the car and I tried to calm him down. The bottle shattered into pieces so close up to his face and he was not expecting that to happen that his pupils were dilated in fear. He did not understand why it happened.

Image result for learning from experience

After he was calm and no longer crying, I asked him if he remembered me telling him to be careful with fizzy drinks because I knew he loved bubbles. I explained to him many times how dangerous pressure can be and to let the bottle, plastic or glass, rest a bit before trying to open it. He said he remembered it but he did not know it could be this dangerous. I asked him if this experience was enough for him to learn and remember for the next time and his answer was a quick “YES”. I comforted him saying “your Guardian Angels were watching over you. You could have gotten seriously injured. Let’s be happy that you are fine”. After a nice hug and a couple of kisses we headed home.

I have done it, you have done it, we all have done it at some point of our lives. Our parents, friends or people we work with said things, warned us, shared their life lessons and we still wanted to live through it. Unfortunately, we learned the “hard way”. But I guess, it is just how life is.

Image result for learning from experience

I have heard many things about myself from people who know me. Realistic, protective, perfectionist, serious, responsible, emotional, organized… One thing I can add to this list is “proactive”. I am a firm believer when it comes to learning from mistakes and or experiences. I do not believe in making the same mistake twice. I like to take advantage of what I learned and implement it into my life, both personal and professional. Why go through the same pain twice when I can avoid it in the first place? Why not share my experience with others to help them out? Though I realize you cannot force anyone to learn from someone else’s experience I still cannot give up trying.

Image result for learning from experience

Life is about experiences. Good ones create good things and bad ones make us stronger and wiser. I hope we never encounter situations that we cannot recover from. This is all I can hope for all the people I care about and the ones I have not even yet met.

Do you believe in experiences? Have you ever encountered a situation that was a learning experience for you?

 

Perception is the reality…Is it?

Image result for Perception vs Reality

Not long ago I was in a meeting with a stakeholder. He said that perception is the reality. Out of respect, I did not disagree with him. However, not speaking up bothered me deeply. I could not sleep the entire night.  In my world and on my mind, perception is just perception. It is the understanding of the other person and it does not make anything the reality.

I cannot count how many times I spoke with someone only to find out they did not look at the situation 360 degrees. You see a snippet of a situation and start making judgements and maybe reach a conclusion. The person on the other side of the table is staring at you in awe. This is why we ask “did you do your due diligence?”

Image result for Perception vs Reality

Science defines perception as the neurophysiological processes, including memory, by which an organism becomes aware of and interprets external stimuli. Another definition is that perception is a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression. It is clear that perception is subjective. How can it be the reality?

The way we see the reality is affected by the way we focus on the subject. It is the same as seeing the glass half full while the other person is seeing it half empty. The reality is that the amount of water in the glass is equal to 1/2 of the size of that glass. Our personal choices, implicit biases, and beliefs effect our reality. On the other hand, our reality may not be the reality of others. It may not be the reality at all.  How does this happen? It happens because we see what we want to see. Our brain starts searching and focusing on the things that support what we believe in. Psychology defines this as “confirmation bias”. As we talk about the importance of anti-bias approach in education, how can we make sure that we are doing everything to be objective? One way is to check the facts in hand and remind ourselves to be objective.

Image result for glass half full

Our life experiences shape our realities. If you see John as a trouble maker, every time something goes wrong in the classroom you may think it is John’s fault. If you lost trust in your significant other, you may question everyone who presents similar behavior or who looks similar to that person. If you were bullied by a tall boy with big muscles, you may be scared each time you see a person who looks like that. Does this make you right? No. You are biased and your perception is influenced by your negative experiences.

Image result for Perception

I watched an episode of Daredevil. A nine year old boy becomes blind after getting hit by a truck. His life takes a turn after this. His father dies, he starts hearing voices, pretty much everything around him even the things that are blocks away. Some people think that he is getting worse and is about to lose his mind because he is out of control with all the stimuli. He thinks he will not be able to live like this. Until an old blind man talks to him about his blindness being a gift. After listening to the old man the boy says ” until now, I have never thought of this as a gift.” Perfect example of perception. Our own beliefs and life experiences create our realities but they may not be the reality itself after all.

 

Children have rights and we have to protect them!

Image result for children's rights quote

A two-year old child was hung at a day care center. 9-year-old girl is being forced to marry her rapist. Three year old boy is considered “not normal” by his teacher because he draws purple trees. Four year old girl is getting a red card in her second week of being in pre-K because she cannot sit still in the classroom.

We can see many of these on the news, on social media and in our daily conversations with colleagues, friends and relatives. Some situations are more severe than the others of course but in the end they all are hurting our children. Are we doing enough to protect them? Are we doing anything at all to be e remedy for some and to get rid of others for good? Maybe…

Image result for children's rights quote

I question adults who are supposed to be informed, aware and educated in these matters. I also question the adults who are in leadership positions overseeing these individuals exposing our children to such sad situations. Law makers, principles, parents… Do you take an action and stand up for these children’s rights when you see everything happening in front of your eyes or do you let it go? In some cases, do you allow it to happen?

One cannot drive before they are 16 or 18. Yet, they can be forced to a marriage while they have a long life in front of them. A life for them to figure out who they are, what they like and what they want to do in life. Their life can be ended by a delusional person who cannot control herself or who feels good after her sadistic act. They can be stressed out, crushed and pushed away with a label because of a teacher who is not capable of teaching and understanding basics of human development and psychology.

Image result for children's rights quote

It takes all of us to speak up for our children. To speak up and to encourage them to stand up for themselves. We need to have the tools and give them what they need to do so. I hear many people saying that they do not have the tools or the resources. Then I learn that the same people never even asked the question: Do you know anyone who can help me? Are there any self help books to give me ideas about the ways I can approach this problem or challenge?

Sharing is caring. Advocating is caring. Collaborating and fighting for the cause is caring. We need to start caring about children and stop acting like we are helpless or we do not know what to do. We have power as long as we are together. It all starts with a single step, a phone call, a meeting, a question. Don’t be afraid.

Image result for children's rights quote

When I was in elementary school, my best friend and I heard about UNICEF. We used to support the cause knowing that there are children around the world who were not able to meet their basic needs such as clean water, food, clothing, education ,and medical treatment. There are children who are being abused and raped by the adults they need to be protected by. We didn’t have jobs or any other income to make big donations but we were thoughtful. We started purchasing greeting cards that had UNICEF trademark/logo on them. We chose to do so because the proceeds were going to children from all over the world in different ways. We wanted to help break the cycle of poverty and inequity.

I was impressed and excited when I saw that my son’s school is ofering UNICEF club as an option in extended day program. When he asked me what it is I said “This is the moment”. He is an empathetic child and what can be better than him being involved in this club I thought. He came home the next day and said he was the only boy in the club. In fact, some of his friends tried to change his mind saying it would be “no fun” to be in UNICEF club. He did not care.

With his permission, I am sharing the poem my son wrote:

                          We should give clothing, water, shelter and love to the poor

                          Because shelter is for you to survive winter and rainy days

                          Food and water are essential to survive

                          Clothes are so you are not cold on cold days and hot on very hot days

                          Love, because people or kids that are poor should not be gloomy or sad.

Image result for children's rights quote