Lately, I’m trying to chew a lot of gum. It helps to keep me from snacking too much, sure. But, it also helps to keep me from talking too much. (Sometimes.)
I used to bring apples to meetings, I’d eat the apple if someone was saying something that upset me. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and it also probably kept me from getting a letter in my file. It did not always keep me from talking though.
I had a sign on my computer to start this year. It said “Just Breathe/Be the last to speak.” As a coach, I need to be especially mindful of my listening skills. In the middle of the year, some of the words had peeled off. It said “Just Breathe/Speak” for awhile. Then it said “Just Speak.” Finally, it said “Speak.” I don’t know if this is a message, or just a funny coincidence.
When do I listen? When do I speak? I listen to understand, and I’m all for a little cognitive dissonance to push my learning…. And sometimes there isn’t enough gum in the world, enough apples in my lunchbag, or the right message on my computer to stop me from speaking.
Today at an Instructional Coaching conference, I did a lot of listening and learning, and I also found myself speaking up. I’m doing some reflective data work (I like saying “reflective data work” instead of just telling the truth, “I’m trying to tally in my head the kinds of conversations that made me speak up…”)
I spoke up when I felt that some of my core beliefs weren’t even on the table at a conversation. When other people could have but didn’t factor in choice, inclusion, trust, listening, authenticity, or teacher efficacy, I couldn’t help but bring the idea to the discussion. I think this might just be hard wired in my personality.
I”ll keep bringing my gum and apples — but I’m also going to keep speaking up.