This week’s Leadership Column is courtesy of Tom Blumenauer:
Watch for the Walnuts: http://www.cultofpedagogy.com/marigolds/
As we near the end of the first quarter we enter a great opportunity to reassess our surroundings. As the article states, are you a Marigold or are you a Walnut? For those that are simply just reading this and not the article, here’s a quick gardeners guide to the article and how gardens connect back to the workplace.
If you ever plan on designing a garden in your yard, you want to build it away from a walnut tree. Walnut trees give off a toxin that inhibit growth. Marigolds on the other hand help vegetables by preventing weeds from growing and repelling pests.
The workplace is no different. The more marigolds you surround yourself with, the more you’ll grow as a professional. Marigolds for co-workers find ways to stay positive on the roughest days, provide an ear when you need someone, and always seem to have a good vibe around them. They tend to be willing to step up and do things “that benefit OM.” Walnuts constantly complain, only see the negatives, and every new class seems to be the worst they’ve ever taught. Per the article, here’s some common walnut varieties to try to avoid:
- Kid-Hatin’ Jack, who will snort every time you share a positive anecdote about your students. Spend enough time with her and you’ll believe every single one of them is a lying, cheating little sneak and you’re a fool if you think otherwise.
- Retirement Dan, who regularly reports on how many years he has left before he’s “outta here.” He then adds with a chuckle that you have about thirty, right? Dan will find your enthusiasm about school “cute,” but will then tell you to “just wait…it’ll wear off.”
- Twenty-Page Tina, who sets impossibly high standards for her students and brags when kids fail. You had your kids write a five-page paper? Tina assigned twenty. Your mid-term had fifty questions? Tina’s had a hundred and fifty, and only a dozen kids passed it. The students say her exams are the only ones they ever have to study for. After talking to Tina, you’ll feel the urge to triple your kids’ workload and add at least ten trick questions to your assessments, just to get your average down.
- Badass Bobby, who overhears you talking about your students acting up in class and says, “They would never try that crap in my room.” Whenever you leave a conversation with him, you go and scream at your kids.
- Hattie-Who-Hates-the-Principal. Self-explanatory.
- Lawsuit Steve, who sees you touch a student’s forearm and says you better watch out. He “had to give up hugs years ago” and is always reminding you to “be careful.”
- My-Time Margaret, who counts the number of minutes she got for lunch, complains about serving one more day of car-rider duty than anyone else, and knows precisely what time she’s legally required to be in the building each day (not a minute earlier).
- And Good-Old-Days Judy, who hates anything new and never fails to mention how much better things used to be.
No one can be a marigold every single day. We all have those walnut moments. By surrounding yourself with other marigolds, those moments can stay just that, moments. The more marigolds OMHS can have the bigger we will grow! Take a moment and identify where you stand, think about who you are surrounding yourself with, and think to yourself, is this what is best for me and for OM. As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a kid. The more marigolds in the village, the better the growth we see in our students!