I saw this the other day on Amazon, regarding These 6 Things. A colleague of ours named Nora Ishibashi wrote it, and my point in showing it to you is to demonstrate (yet again) that tiny interventions can create very large and positive differences in the lives of the folks we care about.
My focus will be on the bits underlined in green, but the whole review is useful for context.
The gist is that a small bit of reading — just six pages — significantly shifted what Nora was believing about teaching as she approached her first day. Despite what I can only assume is her massive intelligence, charisma, and skill (I mean, just look at her taste in books), she was focused on her shortcomings (“How am I supposed to teach online?“) and her circumstances and the horrid prospect of being found lacking by the students she meant to serve.
She writes that in only six pages, these weights were lifted because:
- Her perspective changed;
- She was reoriented to why she's in this work;
- She had her eyes reset on the point of education;
- She pared down her self-demands (I love that language);
- And she ended up enjoying the very first day of class that six pages prior she had been dreading.
In other words, a very small intervention — six pages of words, from one colleague to another — achieved an inner shift that disrupted the workload-pressure doom loop.
Workload-Pressure Doom Loop? What's that?
The Workload-Pressure Doom Loop is familiar to anyone who has been teaching in 2020-2021. It goes like this:
- Workload goes up — There is an insurmountable number of things that we teachers feel or are told that we are responsible for doing.
- Pressure goes up — There is inevitably a portion of this un-complete-able responsibilities list that we feel inadequate to handle — it's outside of our competency areas.
- Increased pressure makes us poorer thinkers, less healthy people. At this point, most of us default to depressurization habits that we know to be unhelpful (e.g., distracted work sessions, unhealthy after-work behaviors).
- The bad fruits of increased pressure make us worse at making our workload behave, and so we end up doing worse at managing it.
- Which in turn leads to even greater pressure…
You get the idea. It's a loop. A doom loop. (I'm not making up the idea of a doom loop — it's a Jim Collins-ism.)
In other words, Nora's experience of pressure in her work decreased, her performance likely increased, and her enjoyment of the whole deal increased as well. That's what we call a win-win-win.
P.S. If you've purchased a copy of These 6 Things via Amazon, hearty reviews like Nora's mean the world to me because they help others see how the book might help them. Teaching + ongoing writing means I have no fancy plans for book promotion. Generosity is the plan. If you're feeling generous and you've read the book, write a review.
P.P.S. I know, I know, Amazon has problems. You're certainly right. If you'd prefer not to support the platform, please consider leaving a review on your platform of choice. 🙂
P.P.P.S. But, Dave, I don't have the book. Can't you just let me read those pages Nora read, for free? For you? Of course I can. Here you go.
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