From a young age we are taught to share. As toddlers we hear parents preaching, “sharing means caring,” which ultimately becomes engrained in our brains. And that concept lasts a lifetime. Take a look at families. The mom and dad have equal say. Why? The respect and self-worth to know you are an equal in family decision-making (the most important of all decisions in life) trumps all. And isn’t that the straw that stirs our drink, the desire and want to belong, feel important and valued.
Currently, I teach at the tiniest of schools, Clayton Elementary. The principal Dana Brown has adopted this mentality. All stakeholders (admin, teachers, travelling teachers, LST, EA’s, parents, etc…) all have a genuine voice in school culture, and direction. Each individual has their perspectives, values and strengths and therefore is equally heard. Here decisions are turned to the committee (all who are a part of the school) and a decision is based on a consensus. What then occurs? Quite simply all feel important, all feel respected and all are happy. Classroom and school culture are peaceful and connected and all staff and kids are better off.
So where have we broken away from what we were taught as toddlers? Turning many decisions over to the workers is not relinquishing control but is an innovative way to increase moral and productivity. It would be silly to think that all school decisions must and should be turned to the patrons. But where possible, to better a workforce, take control by appearing to give it up.