Part III: The two obstacles that get in the way of faculty developing their character and leading a conscience-driven life.
As with students and parents, there are two typical obstacles faced by faculty. A scene from the film Hoosiers illustrates the first dilemma. Gene Hackman is addressing his players at the very first basketball practice. Out of the corner of his eye, he observes two players whispering and joshing with each other. (Anyone who has ever taught has faced this dynamic!) Hackman proceeds to kick both players out of the gym, telling them not to return. While it might not be necessary to be this extreme, suffice it to say that the Hyde teacher must steer into the storm. When we see an “attitude,” we go after it! (Bluntly put, the attitude either changes or departs!)
Understandably, the faculty gets tired of mixing it up with the kids. Busting attitudes takes a lot of energy. There is also the risk (“likelihood” is more like it) that the students won’t like you, at least temporarily. Technique is a lot less important than a simple commitment to do it. Often times you just have to throw technique to the wind and go after it “like a gila monster!”
The second place where the faculty can struggle is common to all enterprises. Peter Senge calls it the “I am my job syndrome.” Rather than see themselves as part of the organization’s grand enterprise, people put on the blinders and focus solely on the function they perform. This sets up cliques and water-cooler discussions as people protect their turf. When Hyde’s teachers fail to see that they are part of a larger purpose – and instead focus solely on the function that they perform – they severely limit prospects for generating any powerful esprit de corps.
So, it comes down to reflex and conscience….
– If you are a Hyde student, expect to deal with the challenge of learning to accept that life is difficult and prepare to wrestle with Brother’s Keeper.
– If you are a Hyde parent, you would do well to ask two questions: “How am I doing in the letting-go department?” And “Am I being open and honest with my true feelings?”
– If you are a Hyde teacher, stay attitude-focused and avoid the turf wars. After all, you are the guardian of the mission!
Onward, Malcolm Gauld