Saturday, March 3, 2018

Are You All In?

As educators and leaders, we often find ourselves running from one thing to another.  For classroom teachers, there's a myriad of responsibilities.  In addition to day-to-day teaching and preparation, there are team meetings, parent emails, and collection of resources for students.  Educators working as instructional coaches, administrators, and other roles supporting classrooms, can find themselves bouncing from place to place, teacher to teacher, team to team and student to student.  It can be easy, and perhaps somewhat understandable, to find our minds on the next thing, especially in collaborative conversations.

It's not uncommon for me to sit in a meeting, team conversation, or learning opportunity to see people with their phones out, answering emails on their computers, or being distracted by thinking beyond the moment.  In today's world, people can multitask between devices in a meeting, but we all know engaged multitasking looks different than disengaged multitasking.

In my role as our district's literacy instructional leader, I am in a myriad of meetings across the day.  One of the things I work hard to do is to be all in.  Whether I am in a data team meeting with a team of teachers, professional learning community conversations with a group, a planning meeting with district leadership, or a book talk with a student book club, I am trying to train myself to be all in.  That means I am listening, making sense of their ideas, and trying to work toward new understandings beside the people I am with at the time.

Too often we become distracted by the buzzes, bleeps, and notifications of our devices.  We easily disengage from conversations to think about the next thing on our calendars.  This can leave the people we are sitting beside feeling like they are not valued.

The next time you grab your phone, open up your email, or find yourself a million miles from the conversation.  Ask yourself, "Am I all in?".



  1. You always have a way of getting me to think. I love this reminder to be all with not only in meetings and with kids but at home too. I will be thinking more about this.

  2. Great advice! I often have to remind myself not to check my phone. If I'm checking it too often, that's a sign I have to many things on the go and need to step back a bit. I wonder what teachers would do if there was a parking lot for phones at the front of a meeting space, like many teachers have in their rooms for student phones.

  3. Such a good reminder. This question is so important and I think it forces us to look at ourselves a bit instead of blaming all the other "things" on our lack of engagement. It's easy, as you said, to be thinking about what's to come instead of being IN the moment. Thanks for this.