30 Chapters
Medium 9781609945695

Chapter 14 The Question that Changes Everything

Adams, Marilee G. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
Anais Nin

Prior to the professional development meeting that Dr. Marshall called, Brandon and Becky drew most of the Choice Map on the big white board in the multi-purpose room. Then they waited in the background as Dr. Marshall opened the meeting by handing out agendas with a copy of the Choice Map clipped to them. At his signal, Brandon and Becky wheeled the big white board into position for everyone to see. We watched in hushed silence as Becky sketched in some final details of the Choice Map.

As planned, Brandon was the chief spokesperson. He described, in his own words, some of the points illustrated on the map: “This guy is standing at the starting place,” he said, pointing to the figure standing on the left near the junction of the two paths. “It’s like something hits you and you can’t decide where you’re going to go with it.” He walked his fingers along the Learner path for a short way to demonstrate. Then he glanced at me and made a swooping gesture with his arm along the Judger path. “This is the path where you can get into trouble.”

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7. See with New Eyes, Hear with New Ears

Adams, Marilee G. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Authentic listening is not easy. We hear the words, but rarely do we really slow down to listen and to squint with our ears, to hear the emotions, fears, and underlying concerns.

Kevin Cashman

We started our next meeting with a question that had been disturbing me since early in my conversations with Joseph. “Maybe it’s just wishful thinking,” I began, “but given the problems Judger throws our way . . .”

Joseph lifted his hand, signaling me to stop, and replied, “None of us can avoid slipping into Judger from time to time. It’s only human.” Then he smiled enigmatically and added, “But you can free yourself from Judger by simply accepting that part of yourself. Judger is not the problem; it’s how we relate to Judger that makes all the difference. It’s such a simple formula: Judger-Switch-Learner. But nobody can make it work without beginning with acceptance.

“Huh? That doesn’t make sense. How can I be free of something that’s part of me?”

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Chapter 6 Listening with Learner Ears

Adams, Marilee G. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

My words itch at your ears till you understand them …

Walt Whitman

Mrs. Santiago and I started having regular meetings, sometimes for a few minutes at the end of the day, sometimes over lunch. As I shared more of Sophie’s materials with her, our exchanges became increasingly collaborative and creative. There were other changes, too. Good ones. We were now on a first name basis: Carmen and Emma. I’d never called her anything but Mrs. Santiago before.

One afternoon, after the children had left, Carmen showed me a sheet of paper she’d found crumpled up on the floor near Brandon’s desk. She smiled uneasily as she smoothed it out on the desk for me to see.

Scrawled at the top in blocky letters were the words Behavior Chart, except that Behavior was misspelled: Behaver. Under that were two names: my own and Carmen’s. Following each of our names were long rows of Xs. Carmen watched as I examined the paper. Earlier in the day we’d both put Xs after Brandon’s name on the Behavior Chart, mostly for his obnoxious remarks about other kids. He talked more than any other child in the class, but most of it had little to do with any lessons. Much of the time he was interrupting other people, including Carmen and me. There were times when he didn’t seem able to contain himself.

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8. Learner Teams and Judger Teams

Adams, Marilee G. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

It’s not differences that divide us. It’s our judgments about each other that do.

Margaret J. Wheatley

During our break, I started remembering what it had been like to work at KB. It had been very different from what I was now experiencing at QTec. When I compared the two experiences—KB versus QTec—there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that at KB I had mostly been in Learner. As a research engineer and head tech guy, I did most of my work alone, then reported my findings to the team, taking their questions and providing answers. It was easy to be in Learner most of the time. By contrast, at QTec it was apparent that I was in Judger more often than I cared to admit. No matter where I looked, especially with my team, something seemed to be going wrong or somebody was failing to do what they were supposed to. How could I avoid going into Judger? As Joseph and I continued our meeting that day, I hesitantly shared this observation with him and said, “I’m not sure where to take it from here.”

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Chapter 3 Mapping the Geography of Our Minds

Adams, Marilee G. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

When you enter a mindset, you enter a new world.

Carol S. Dweck

Sophie put the flowers into a large vase and brought them back to the living room. Their color and fragrance lifted my spirits.

“Are you okay?” she asked, turning to me.

“I’m actually fine,” I assured her, knowing that my reddened eyes were sending a different message. “It isn’t easy for me to look at how often I go Judger. Lately, I think it has completely taken over my internal climate. So please go on. What you’re saying is all very helpful. I know I can’t just be thinking about myself. I have to think about my kids, their grades, and their test scores—not to mention whether they’re really learning, or accomplishing anything worthwhile.”

“Oh, absolutely,” Sophie said. She was silent for a moment. Then she asked quietly, “Do you think your students will learn more—and as you said, accomplish more—in a Learner climate or a Judger one?”

The answer to that question seemed obvious but it also opened up a lot of other questions for me. After a moment I reflected, “It’s painful to think of myself this way, I mean, as a Judger kind of person. I certainly don’t want to be that way.”

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