Toil and Trouble

A snapshot of Mosaic as we continue to develop and grow – both as a program and as a rag-tag collective of ambitious teachers and students:

We all work hard in Mosaic … and for that I and others are extremely grateful and appreciative. Though some of us can be abrasive and harsh at times, I think we all truly want to move ourselves and, indeed, the program forward.

Having said this, I think some of us may struggle with some sort of perceived “ownership” of Mosaic and a need to be identified as the leader. We have no sole leader – the design of the program simply will not tolerate an “I’m in charge” approach that creates a hierarchy amongst its teachers. We may all at times be frustrated with our inability to implement what we envision for the program – and we may each at times exhibit a lack of patience for any sort of feedback that can be perceived as “traditional.” Either way it creates a mindset that interprets problems as paralyzing obstacles rather than as opportunities to improve.

Here are some more specific points that could be discussed amongst the Mosaic teachers and students (and that I hope to review in the future and think, “Wow, we’ve come so far!”):

  • extreme mood swings are demoralizing and painful to all of us – there must be a way to process disappointment – one that does not alienate
  • promises or threats to quit seem selfish and reactive and they create a “Cry Wolf” situation, which – unfortunately – I now tune out when I hear people say these things
  • avoidance of ongoing conflict with colleagues creates an awkward dynamic that inhibits productivity, creativity, and a sense of “open and honest” vulnerability that is necessary to do Mosaic-like teamwork
  • a perceived “take no prisoners” approach to advancing ideas silences feedback and professional criticism – this is unhealthy and potentially damaging
  • everyone in Mosaic is capable of contributing positive and innovative ideas, everyone … we do not need to standardize everything, rather we should seek to share ideas not prove them

I think all of us in Mosaic need continued encouragement and support as the developing leaders that we are. When we are happy and balanced we are individually and collectively amazing to work with and to be around. When one of us is upset, however, it can often create a brooding nightmarish situation. Some of us may indeed be at a crossroads, in which case we should make our decisions, but we should make decisions that do not hurt either ourselves or the program. A Mosaic version of Sherman’s March to the Sea cannot be an option.

Mosaic is a fast-paced environment that need not be overly stressful… it has the potential to be a super fun learning and teaching environment and a model of what learning can be like for students and teachers alike. Every single teacher in the program has taken a leap and does not need to feel like he/she is in a constant “tryout” hoping to make the team – tryouts are over… we need to develop and support one another – avoiding anything that breeds insecurity. We must turn to one another for strength and guidance, not judgement and ridicule.