Be the Buffalo Rerun

by Jean Tower

Schools have a bit of a lull from now until we return on January 2. During this period I will be reposting blog posts from the past. I will pick posts that I think are still relevant or entertain in some way. Enjoy the holidays!

Be the buffalo. Wilma Mankiller, the first female principal chief of the Cherokee nation, once told me how the cow runs away from the storm while the buffalo charges directly toward it ā€“ and gets through it quicker. Whenever Iā€™m confronted with a tough challenge, I do not prolong the torment. I become the buffalo.

~ Donna Brazile, Oprah Magazine, June 2010 page 38

So which are you? When faced with a daunting challenge, do you confront it straight on or do you run away from it?

Imagine you are coaching a teacher in technology use and they share what sounds like a pretty good lesson, but it is devoid of any technology and you see ways it could be improved (example: http://weblogg-ed.com/2011/valuing-change/). Do you really engage the teacher in thoughtful reflection? After offering some examples of how they might extend the lesson by using technology, and they say they don’t see how that helps, do you gently persist?

What if you are working with a principal on observing and evaluating teachers using technology? If the principal can identify and explain best practice, but says it is still optional, that using technology doesn’t fit every teacher’s style, do you take that on? Are you the buffalo?

How about if you work with someone who is well-known for interrupting people at meetings, driving the conversation away from the agenda, and for inflexibly avoiding compromise? Would you be able to honestly tell that co-worker how you feel about about your interactions with them? I’m not talking about creating explosions, but about honestly confronting people when they treat you as less than they should.

Every day, trying to do the best job you can, are you willing to be the buffalo? I think sometimes we are afraid ā€“ afraid to show our true selves, or of disappointment, or even of too much success.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. ~ Marianne Williamson

I think we all have to commit to being the buffalo ā€“ no excuses, head-on – be the buffalo.

 

 

Originally posted in March 2011

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