|Adam and Austin OBX 2011|
Defined by a contributor to Wikipedia as "affection without any limitations" unconditional love is often used to describe the relationship between parents and children. Speaking as a mother of two sons, ages 24 and 16, I can honestly say that while I don't agree with everything they think and do, I do love them as individuals, as people, as young men, and as extensions of our family.
Can unconditional love be used to described relationships with people in our work families? I work in a very large school district with roughly 170 individual schools. I am part of a team of seven people, all who collaboratively work with other larger teams defined by grade levels and purpose/function within the school system. Individually we bring unique experiences and skill sets to the team. We all see the current state of education through slightly different lenses. But we all share a common desire: to improve learning experiences and environments for all of our 50,000 students.
The Instructional Technology and Library Media Services Team relies on educators who are chosen leaders in their schools to work as extensions of our team. Prior to the recently hired Superintendent of Academics uniting IT with LMS and hiring a Director to lead this newly created team, IT had never functioned independently and LMS was a two-person team, functioning without a director for way too long. Additionally, the ITLMS Team’s educational extensions consist of Librarians, Technology Teachers, Technology Facilitators, Classroom Teachers, School Administrators, and Model Teachers from each of our 170 individual schools.
Much like the parent-child relationship, our school families do not always agree, but we all have the same essential focus, improving learning experiences and environments for our students. Our leaders welcome open dialogue. They know our collective voice is much more powerful than individual voices. No matter the work environment our school-based leaders are experiencing, they must realize that they are now part of something much larger; they are part of the ITLMS Team whose leaders will promote change and advocate for the work we do to improve learning environments across our district. Like parents, they will decide steps we take to move forward, and they will not always concede to our requests. It is time to lower our fences, put down our arms. We can trust our leadership, and we need to work collectively to accomplish such ambitious goals. Thank you for your leadership. Together, we are building stronger, safer learning environments and transforming our students’ skills so they know how to learn and can achieve their goals.