It has been a long time since I wrote a blog that is personal, in any way, shape or form. There is no big reason for this. I just have been so busy that I haven’t been thinking a lot lately, I guess. This week, in particular, has been insane. I have been dealing with a leak in my window, which means sending multiple emails to my condo association. (On a side note: Can I just say that I really don’t understand why people can’t just email you back even if they have nothing to offer you? Is it too much to ask for people to be courteous and respectful in that way?) Beyond the condo, I have also been busy at work. To catch everyone up, I am teaching at a new school this year with a new position. While I’m much happier in this new position, it has been taking a lot of my time. One of the reasons it is so time consuming is that the curriculum planning is done in a group as all the teachers of U.S. History meet to plan.
Teamwork like that takes time. It takes lots of time. After all, we all have opinions, which can lead to disagreements. Heck, one meeting we had was entirely about how to phrase the final essay question for a unit. An hour spent solely on a sentence. People were strongly reacting to other people’s ideas. No one was willing to just agree with the team chair or the most experienced member or the newbie. We were willing to have the debate. We were also willing to put ideas down on the table and were prepared to have them criticized. In fact, we have all gotten criticized by the other, at some point or another. We aren’t a group of “yes people”. We don’t think our purpose is just to praise one person or another. No, we are willing to be tough, to ask the hard questions, to find faults in lessons or delivery of lessons. Why? The answer is simple. We want to be the best teachers we can be. Teamwork like this forces us to think about our plans, our methods, our teaching. It also allows us to take the best ideas from everyone in order to come up with great lessons and methods to delivery them to our students. While, sometimes, I’m frustrated by the time-consuming process or how vulnerable I feel during it, I know it is worth all of the negatives. I am a better teacher now in comparison to last year when I didn’t have anyone giving me any feedback about anything.
Frankly, this is how Rhonda and I work as well. Sometimes, we have to confront each other about something we are working on. This happens a lot when we are writing. One person writes something and sends it to the other person. The author might think it was the best thing ever and then finds out from the other that it really wasn’t that good or that clear. It doesn’t feel good to hear something like that, but the finished product is always so much better for having worked through the, sometimes, uncomfortable but necessary process. Heck, we are to the point where I might start a piece of writing for a specific purpose. Rhonda might get it and tell me exactly what she liked about it and exactly what needed to be changed. Sometimes, she might try taking the skeleton writing I sent and change and add to it. Then, it comes back to me and I do the same and back and forth until we get it right. Isn’t that the most important thing? That we get it right? I think so. We both know that any criticism isn’t done out of spite or anger. It is done because our work needs to be quality. We want to be proud of our finished products, no matter if they are blogs, chapters, or events. I wouldn’t want her to just be nice about everything I do when it comes to our work and she wouldn’t either. We want to be the best that we can be.
As I have been appreciating my teamwork situations, both at work and at the Daily Duranie, I started thinking about how I hope for the same for the band. I hope that they, too, are willing to have some tough conversations. These conversations, of course, wouldn’t be meant to make anyone angry but to push people to be the best. In Duran’s case, it could push them to be the best musicians. It seems to me that is what Mark did with the last album. He pushed them. He wasn’t willing to just accept “okay”. He wasn’t just going to say something was great, if it wasn’t. Now, I don’t know that for sure, but that is the sense that I got from All You Need Is Now. I hope that is the case now, at least, for Mark, for Nile, for Mr. Hudson and anyone else that they work with. Heck, I hope that is the case for everyone that Duran works with, everyone that DDHQ works with . I want them to be pushed to be the best that they can be. Sometimes, that might be uncomfortable to be questioned, to be criticized, but it seems to me that it is worth it. I remembered that this year with my teaching. I thought now that I have been teaching for as long as I have that I didn’t need criticism anymore, that I had grown as much as I could. Wrong. I was wrong. I think everyone, no matter who they are need people to keep asking the not-so-easy questions, to put them in the hot seat. This is where true growth happens, I believe, no matter if you are a writer, a teacher, an event planner or a rock star.