Skip to main content

"Culture Beats Strategy"

I subscribed to Seth Godin's short blog posts recently because my boss shared Godin's writing with me. He's worth listening to on the Tim Ferris Show, too.

Two days ago, he shared a post that ended with this:

Culture beats strategy. So much that culture is strategy.

When I think about our work with students, culture really is the most important work that we can do. 

Is there a culture of trust and collaboration in our classrooms and with our colleagues? Or is the culture that we have created one of competition and negativity? 

We can't begin to take risks with our students and co-workers if we don't trust each other. And it's in that space of trust where we can really be willing to try something new. 

I'm also thinking a lot about the days where I seemed to focus more on the "strategy" of teaching rather than tapping into the culture in my classroom. Even when I think the culture is established to the point where we don't need to spend any more time developing it, I am reminded that it is through the culture that I can accomplish great work with kids. But my classroom will never have a strong culture if I don't take the necessary steps to develop a cohesive and supportive one. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How Changing My Car’s Battery Made Me Think About Education

A lot of people write about how educators use the summer to “recharge their batteries,” which is true. It’s nice to have some down time to reflect and plan for the next year. It’s the one time of year when there aren’t constant demands for teachers’ and administrators’ time. No concerts, no after school events, no evaluations to prepare for.
Part of this time allows me to catch up on things that I didn’t have time for during the school year, like changing the battery in our Jeep, which is our only vehicle that has roof racks for us to transport our kayaks. We were able to get by this winter by jumping it a few times when it was really cold out, but my wife and I both knew it would eventually need to be replaced. My wife and I also knew nothing about replacing a battery.
So I turned to YouTube. And I watched video after video of someone changing car batteries in order to figure out what to do. I learned about “core charges” that auto part supply stores charge. I learned that batterie…

'Embarrassment' Review

I just finished Thomas Newkirk's Embarrassment: And the Emotional Underlife of Learning. Like anything by Newkirk, I devoured it and found that so much of it rang true with my philosophy and feelings when it comes to teaching.

Here are ten lines that stood out to me in the book (in no particular order):


"Unless we can get beyond this reluctance, we never put ourselves out there to learn--we never become the novice we need to be to learn." (15)"Schools face what might be called the paradox of offering help... you need a designation for that group, and that very designation may be so stigmatizing that students would rather forgo the help than to accept the label." (33)"We need to look beyond the posture of indifference, or just see it as a posture." (61)"We are happy, gratified to offer help--that is a big part of our professional identity. But we (or at least I) are far more reluctant to receive help." (63)"Failure or disappointment is le…

Making Time to Struggle

I recently traveled to Northern Ontario with family to fish for four days on Lake Wabatongushi. Aside from “unplugging” for several days, fishing with my wife and our family reminded me of how important it is for educators to put themselves in situations in which they are not the experts in the room and where they must engage in productive struggle in order to figure things out.

So let me start by saying that I am not a fisherman. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy fishing. I used to go fishing with my grandfather when I was really young. Heck, there was even a time when I remember exuberently telling my grandmother how we “went fishing with no poles” when I was six or seven. But despite that, I hadn’t really gone fishing since I was a teenager and would occasionally fish from the riverbank at my grandparents’ house.

So I knew that even agreeing to go on a fishing trip would put me in a situation where I would have to be vulnerable, ask questions, and try many times in order to figure things…