Education Opinion

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know, So Ask

By Starr Sackstein — September 26, 2017 2 min read
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Who knew that when I stepped into my new position there would be so many dark corners to explore!

I suppose those of you who hold leadership positions and have for a long time could be chuckling at me right now (either out loud or to yourself) because of course, you knew.

Being responsible for four departments that are beginning to function as a cohesive whole, while still learning the ropes has been a real adventure. Every day I discover something new I didn’t realize I didn’t know.

Probably sounds silly, but honestly, until I am doing something, I can’t possibly wrap my brain around the depth and scope of what is expected and ironically, I still don’t feel like I’m doing enough.

It’s definitely a no-no to say that aloud, but I suspect in the very near future, I won’t have the same flexibility in my daily schedule once observations begin.

As the light begins to shine on my new learning, I’m reminded of what we do in the classroom every day. For me the learning experiences that are most memorable, important and meaningful are the ones I explore and discover on my own. Sure, there are expectations and standards that I must exceed, but ultimately, the way I get to mastery is through doing.

Too often we forget in the classroom and in life, that learning happens in moments when we are forced to figure stuff out, like my new role. The first step is acknowledging I don’t have the answer. Then I need to know where to go to find it. Sometimes it is a human resource, that developing more of a relationship and asking a lot of questions will help with the answer and sometimes I need to read and explore further on my own first.

The folks I’ve been working with have been amazing and patient. They are eager to help me settle in and get acclimated, which is great because there is still so much to learn.

I hope to be modeling a growth mindset here, knowing what I bring to the table, but also showing that I’m not afraid to take a risk and be a learner first.

That’s what we all are, of course, learners first, exploring dark corners and shedding light on what once wasn’t known or understood. To me this is the greatest journey we are on and I wake up invigorated about the adventures still yet to come.

There’s a lot of discovery waiting to happen in my future and I’m eager to continue to collaborate with my colleagues so that the kids can get what they need.

When we exhibit the behaviors we’d like to see, the more likely they will become a part of the culture. So I aim high, ask for help and fear not the scrapes that inevitably happen. They go away, but the experience informs future leaps.

How do you shine the light on what you don’t know in your every day life? Please share

The opinions expressed in Work in Progress are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.