To start with, there has never been a moment in our careers like this one - when veterans and novices, school leaders and teachers - have all been forced to learn so much so fast. Since last March, I cannot count how often I have heard experienced professionals say they’ve felt like they were back at square one, like new teachers or new leaders. As a consequence, whether we wanted to or not, all of us have had to air our vulnerabilities; all of us have had to take risks.
Teachers find themselves asking their students to help them with technology snags; leaders ask for their faculty’s and communities’ forbearance as they figure out how to deal with unanticipated curveballs and revise their plans. We have struggled to engage our learners in remote learning and adjusted to having parents present in our remote classrooms. All of us drop off of Zooms, stumble as we attempt to share a screen or discover we are muted, ask our colleagues to get us up to speed with a new technology tool.
The interesting thing is that this vulnerability and risk-taking are very good for learning organizations. For professionals engaged in complex, challenging work, vulnerability is essential to growth. This is true both for teachers, and for school leaders. (Inspire Learning, Not Dread. Roussin & Zimmerman, Journal of Staff Development, Dec 2014; Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. Penguin-Random House, 2012)