Thursday, August 30, 2012

15. Humility...The Tao of Management


    Humility is having great possessions and not dwelling upon them.  Lacking humility, a manager and his organization become empty, disrespectful, and lazy.  Humility is recognized by its quality and endurance.  It should be practiced in both favorable and unfavorable situations.  True humility enriches all.  Satiety brings on resentment.  The manager humbly follows the strong, is hard working, and extends his humility to the high and to the low.  Do not underrate the positive effect of true humility. ~ Bob Messing

    Humility helps to keep us present while also connecting the guide to both student and parent at the heart level.

    Many people think of having possessions as having physical possessions.  Yet, we can also possess great knowledge, mental qualities and abilities.  This may give us a sense of superiority.  It may even give us a sense of security.  This sense of security can lead us to not fully connect with the child or adult.

    Humility reminds us to be present and to not get lost in routine.  How many of us have been teaching for several years?  With this experience comes a comfort with teaching certain lessons.  As guides we are sure of how it goes and we have the nuances down.  I would like to put out a thought of encouragement.  Take a look at those lessons in your albums and see if you find something in there that was overlooked or forgotten about.  I think when we find that nuance or piece of information that we missed humility finds us.

   Another part of humanity comes when we adjust.  When we are open to adjust the way we are teaching or how we are imparting information to a child that needs it a little differently we are being humble.  This connects us at the heart level and forces us to be present.

    I have thought of humility as admitting to be wrong, or acknowledging that I do not know everything.  However, when I really think about humility as I was forced to when reading the above passage, I realize it goes deeper then I had acknowledged.  It is so interesting to think of it as forcing us to be more present and connecting us to each other at the heart level!

What are your thoughts on humility?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

14. Great Possessions...The Tao of Management

Great Possessions ---Ta Yu

    Great possessions represent the success and reward brought about through management efforts and effective work.  The manager must be firm and flexible, in so that which is great, now will grow greater.  The manager always builds on strength.  This individual and organizational condition requires nurturing within and the repudiation of adornments.  Daily rewards call for daily renewal by the manager.  ~ Bob Messing

When I read this passage I am seeing it differently so as to relate to the classroom.  Great work by the children, which is their great possessions, represent their successes and rewards internally in turn leads to the internal success and reward felt by the guide for having had experienced the child's success.  The guide must constantly be aware of their freedom and responsibility and to do that must be both firm and flexible.  Doing this will bring about what is already great into something greater.  Through persuasion, interaction and conversation the guide builds on each others strengths and offers the child the opportunities to transform weaknesses.  Internal dialogue and qualities must be nurtured from within.  Relying on external praise should be repudiated so as to focus on the thing or task for its own sake and it's own rewards.  The Great Possession(s) is experienced and owned internally not externally.  Daily rewards of this kind lead to daily renewal for the guide and child.


Friday, August 24, 2012

13. Fellowship and Assimilation - The Tao of Management

Fellowship and Assimilation --- T'ung Jen

    Fellowship and assimilation are brought out by the charater of the manager, not by his position.  A manager must skillfully and sincerely mix and assimilate with others.  This true sameness with others is developmental.  Do not be a fair weather fellow.  Be true in good times and in bad.  The manager must always recognize that there are people with whom he should not assimilate.  Assimilation as a management technique is based upon correctness and other rational factors, never on emotion.  True mutuality exists as a result of truly natural and productive activity.  The manager develops himself inwardly while at the same time developing others outwardly.  This is the condition within which the manager is able to adapt to change and to set truly significant goals.  ~ Bob Messing

        I typed this passage up today before I had a meeting with a landscaper to get an estimate for the next stage that our school is at in building a labyrinth.  My experience with this  landscaper reinforced this passage for me.  Regardless of the position that one holds, it is the person's character that expresses the qualities of a manager or leader.  I experienced how a person with heartfelt qualities that sincerely mixes and assimilates with others brings out the best in each other.

    When I met the landscaper he was nice enough and was obviously a little overwhelmed by what seemed like a little more of a daunting task then he expected.  However, upon speaking with him more and more I saw him softening up.  When he gave me the quote I explained to him that I will have to meet with the school head, landscape designer and president of the P.A. before moving forward.

    Before I knew it, he was asking me about the school and talking with me about his son.  We spoke about the Industrial Revolution and the public school education system.  Miraculously, as we were speaking he came up with an idea to use another guy he knows to help excavate the area at a much cheaper price while not compromising efficiency.  Then he thought of another idea and realized that he knew someone that could donate one or two bee hives for honey production.  What a wonderful experience!

    If that were not enough as we were wrapping up the conversation he said, "...and so you are the head of this school."  What a huge compliment, especially since that is one of my life goals, to become a school head. I of course clarified my position at the school and told him that was actually one of my life goals. 

My interpretation of this experience and applying it to this passage is that if a person carries themselves a certain way and connects with another from the heart, your actual position does not matter.  I met with several landscapers and we assimilated well together.  While I acted consistently and gave the same spiel to each, two were simply not interested and so we did not assimilate.  There is something to be said about knowing when to assimilate and to try and connect versus when to disconnect professionally and positively.  I am sure it is something to work on regulalry and develop. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

12. The Tao of Management - Obstruction

Obstruction - P'i

    Obstruction always exists in opposition to harmony.  Through obstruction the great goes and the small comes.  The manager's goal is to immediately effect balance.  Hiding embarrassment or just being unaware means that the manager does not know that there is obstruction or blockage in the organization.  In times of organizational or individual blockage, it is helpful and even necessary to go back and start over.  The manager reverses the role of events and restores tranquility.  The manager had better be aware of the path of events around him.  ~ Bob Messing

    The Montessori guide can be both manager of the classroom and at least an example of a manager for the staff and administration.  Thanks to Synchronicity, the acknowledgement and awareness of a co-worker I learned this today.

    We had a faculty meeting and we were going over our handbook.  The head of school expressed that in her opinion it was not okay for children to yell or scream while playing tag or anything of the like during recess because it is annoying.  I noted that I was confused as  to why it was not okay for them to do this, yet it is acceptable for younger children that are upset to go outside during class time and yell, scream or cry to their heart's content.  This rule was actually implemented by the school head and at the time said that this never actually happens or even happened.  I replied that while not often, it does happen and was actually implemented as a policy at least a couple of years ago.  While  the staff spoke up and said this was the case the school head went on with a metaphor.

"A given person may extend their arm and swing it around to the extent that it stays within the proximity that it does not hit another person."

   I saw that the obstruction was at the very least simply the school head's opinion which was not going to change.  I could have argued and even argued well until I was blue in the face.  Yet, I realized that because this was her opinion and the rule was being implemented based on that then because of this person's personality the school  head would not see the logic of any other opinion.  So I dropped it and we moved on.

  After the meeting, my co-worker complimented me on knowing when to just be and not react.  I thought about this and the quote from Bob Messing's book on obstruction.  The blockage here was the opinion and not the thought of freedom and expression of the elementary aged child especially for appropriate times and places.  I feel that by responding how I did it restored tranquility and kept the peace while also raising awareness for several staff members.

   A certain kind of peace comes from knowing when to push forward and knowing when to be still.  It does not mean that you do not experience frustration.  However, it does mean that you will not experience more by doing something else, like over engaging.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

11. The Tao of Management -- Tranquility


     Tranquility is harmony.  This is developmental in that the small goes and the great comes, and the organization goes through in harmony.  There is proper timing in the course work.  Proper timing in taking advantage of opportunity can bring about tranquility.  Tranquility can be lost by softness. The balanced and flexible manager can bring opposition into submission.  Manage strongly while acting in a docile manner so as to nurture your strength widely.  A primary goal for managers is to bring about harmony and to preserve it.
 ~ Bob Messing

      Tranquility sums up what the manner of the guide in the classroom should be at all times.  Proper timing with the child, intentional or subconsciously accurate brings about tranquility for the child, the adult and the classroom.  When the adult is steadfast and centered tranquility is contagious throughout the classroom.  I think tranquility is found while actively and consciously treading.

What are some tips that you have found helpful to bring tranquility into the classroom?

What helps you to tread through difficult situations?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

10. The Tao of Management By Bob Messing

Treading ---

     Treading means forward progress.  A manager needs firmness of purpose here and must operate with strength of mind, robust energy, and sincerity.  In treading, avoid impetuous action because ignorance and incompetence can only bring misfortune.  A manager practices self-mastery in times of peril. ~ Bob Messing

     I think every Montessori teacher has their own personal purpose upon entering their classroom whether they can sum it up in a personal mission statement or it is an embedded feeling.  What separates those teachers who can hold on to that inner purpose during chaotic times versus those that struggle?  Reflecting on this question leads me to believe that there are at least two main possibilities that are closely related. One is that as humans we let our emotions overshadow what our purpose is and our firmness of that purpose wavers.  The other is that we just take things to darn personally and that shakes our emotions which causes our purpose in the classroom to waver.

    Maybe through repetition we can mentally train ourselves to control our emotions during those times to hold on to that firmness of purpose.  We can repeat to ourselves several times a day what our purpose is or feel what our inner purpose is a couple of times a day.  That could help remind us to tread and use our will to push forward with robust energy and the sincerity that truly connects us with the children in our classroom.  

    As I read this passage I think to myself how interesting and how important it is to have these qualities and strive to maintain these qualities each and everyday in the classroom.  What a challenge that can tend to be when in the middle of the hustle and bustle throughout the day. I would love to read what your comments and reflections are on this topic!