Let it Go

In my Coping with Failure post, Rocky reminds us to keep moving forward. Unfortunately, there are times when something or someone will prevent you from progressing. If you reach that point, it is important to recognize it so that you are able to cut your losses and push forward.

You probably think I am going to go with a scene from Frozen. Well, close. Some people have even called Frozen the nordic version of Tombstone. That is not entirely true, but nonetheless both films deal with moving on.

Initially, moving to Tombstone is an attempt at an escape for Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell). He hopes to leave the life of a lawmen and the perpetual danger it put his family in. Tragically, he gets roped back into his former profession, which ultimately leads to the death of his younger brother, Morgan (Bill Paxton).

This scene immediately follows the murder of Morgan at the hands of the Cowboys under the leadership of Curly Bill (Powers Boothe).

Here we see Wyatt inform the Cowboys that he is no longer concerned with enforcing the law. He wants to salvage what is left of his life and start somewhere fresh with his remaining family.

Famously, Curly Bill hears this and simply states, “Well…bye.”

Implication for Education

I am a people pleaser. It is not okay to me if there is there is someone in the building who is unhappy. I take it extremely personally and will do everything I can to “fix” the situation.

Frequently, I send out Google Form surveys that allow teachers to share feedback and potentially criticize, critique, or complain about something. This information gathering is extremely important because it helps inform future planning. But when you internalize negative feedback it can be devastating.

My immediate response is to fix it. How can I make it better? What can I do to change this person’s mind? Is there anything that can be done improve the situation? While these are all very noble pursuits, they often are not the appropriate response.

What I should be doing is determining if the problem or concern is systemic. How many people are feeling this way? Is this a common belief? Does it negatively impact the culture? If the issue is widespread, then it is important to work through solutions with relevant stakeholders in the building.

If I determine that the concern is isolated, I need to move on. This is difficult for me, because as I have stated before I want everyone to love coming to work, and it is painful when someone does not.

I am getting better.

Recently, I sent a survey to staff to evaluate recent professional development. Fifty people responded. As I was reading through the comments, one person crushed the training stating that it was a “waste of time” and how they took “nothing away from the day.” This person gave the training a 1 out of 5 stars.

At first, I took it personally. But then I looked at the results as a whole. That was the only 1 star rating. The mean score was 4.3. The median score was a 5. The other comments were glowing.

Because I did not dwell on the negative response, I was able to look at the totality of the results. And because the opinion was not shared, I had a much easier time reading those negative comments and saying to them, and to the person who wrote them, “Well…bye.”

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