Skip to main content

What's your "gap plan"?

Brene Brown introduces the "family gap plan" in the fourth episode of her podcast, Unlocking Us. This came about when she and her husband would argue when she would return home from traveling. It seemed like the minute she walked in, her husband would expect her to be ready for him to "tap out," where she could take over where he had been supporting the family. While she was away from home, this didn't mean that she was full of energy and at 100% the minute she walked in the door. She had been working too and was exhausted.

So, over time they began to name where they were at as people and as a family: I'm at 10%. I'm at 30%. They knew they needed a plan for when collectively she and her husband were not at 100%, but they needed to be for their family.

Beyond our personal lives, the idea of a "gap plan" got me thinking about our classrooms and schools. What happens when we are not at 100% or we know that our classrooms or students are not able to be at 100% ? For me, I think we can start by just doing these three things:

Knowing Where You Are
How many of us honestly take the time each day to check in with ourselves? Maybe during social distancing we have been doing a better job of this, maybe note. What would our mornings or days look like if we just took five minutes to take a deep breath and find out where we were that day? For me it's often a quick mental list of what I can control and what I can't, what my priorities are, and what I need to do for myself that day.

Communicating This Honestly
I think our students are always quick to tell when we aren't ourselves or if we are in a bad mood. Sometimes we have the honest student that will point this out, other times our short responses are meant to communicate this. Instead, what if we just modeled the result of our self check-in and borrowed Brown's language? "Class, I'm at about 50 today... Can you bring the other 50?" What if we communicated this to our office team or to our partners?

Finding a Way to Re-Charge
We need to be able to create time in our daily lives to re-charge. Maybe that's carving out more time for sleep like she suggests in the podcast. Maybe it's doing something for ourselves without guilt or reservation. It's okay to take the dog for a walk. It's okay to eat a quiet lunch. If we aren't at 100 and we aren't doing something that will get us back to 100, then it's a continuous cycle and it's not going to get better.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Handwritten Cue Cards in the 21st Century

I just stumbled upon this behind-the-scenes clip of Saturday Night Live's cue card process.

This is intense writing. This is writing that is dependent upon trust and checks and balances.

Over a short period of time, skits are written, drafted on cards, revised, and the cards revised over and over again.

I also really love that SNL continues to use cue cards and not a teleprompter. Like Wally points out, technology can fail. Handwritten cue cards ensure the show goes on.

Comedy is hard work. Writing is hard work. Changes are made up until the last minute to get things just right. This is a form of real-world writing.

I should’ve taken the time

Yesterday during a teacher observation, a student asked me to step into the hall and talk with them. At the time, it didn’t seem urgent. With this student in particular, we have talked often. Sometimes it was important, other times—from my perspective—it didn’t seem that urgent. 
When I asked her if it could wait 10 minutes, she shut down. I could see the change in how she sat and participated, withdrawing into her desk and no longer asking for help from those around her. There was a noticeable difference in how she interacted with her peers the minute those words came out. 
When I noticed the change, I tried to drop everything right there and talk with her. Let’s go talk, right now, I said. No, it’s fine, she replied. And despite my multiple check-ins while she was working independently, she declined the opportunity to talk again that hour. 
Without even realizing it, I had damaged our relationship. 
We ended up talking later that the day. I saw her as she walked to her next class period…

Like in comedy, timing is everything

I regularly listen to the School Leadership Series and today's episode, "Slump or Spark?", made me think about initiatives, goals, and how we often get stuck in the middle.

Danny encourages us to think about the middle, the "often overlooked time." He encourages us to think about midpoints, the lull, and how we can transform them into sparks instead of slumps. He encourages us to be aware of them, use them to "wake up," and to imagine that we are behind rather than ahead in order to motivate us out of "coast" mode.

He also mentions Dan Pink's When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing in the episode. In this book, Pink gives advice for the varied levels of commitment during the middle: "... when team commitment to achieving a goal is high, it's best to emphasize the work that remains. But when team commitment is low, it's wiser to emphasize the progress that has already been made even if it is not massive" (p. 139).