Today we had a staff meeting after school and we talked about PLCs – Professional Learning Communities. My first year we didn’t have any uniform school-wide expectations. Last year we began adopting PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions Support) and are in our second year using it. There are school wide expectations (a more positive word for “rules”) for the hallway, gym, cafeteria, classroom, etc). It’s going pretty well. This year there has been a lot of chatter about PLCs and from what I am hearing, PBIS and PLCs are “all the rage” in education and in schools these days.
A PLC is basically the staff of a school coming together to work collaboratively to support each other and work together to meet each kid where they are at. What hit me today at our meeting is something that was recently discussed by Pastor Steven in a blog post and in a sermon. The analogy relates to malpractice in the medical field. I liked the example from our meeting today. Someone wanted to get lasik eye surgery to get rid of their glasses. One doctor they had a consultation with went through the procedure saying things such as “We will numb your eye… Then we will make a cut down the center and then we will stretch your eyelid back… You’ll be in recovery for a few hours. You will be on pain medication for a while. You will be required to rest for a while… Then six weeks later you can have the other eye done. I tell it like it is, I like to slice it and dice it as it is.” And on and on. Another doctor said some of the following “We will place some drops in your eye and you won’t feel a thing. It won’t take too long. You’ll have some medication and will be able to head right home as long as you have someone to drive you and you can do one or both eyes at the same time. You can rest for a day and then be right back at work.” So, who would you choose? Doc A or Doc B? Obviously Doctor B met people where they are at, made them comfortable, and used better word choice.
If a doctor uses old, out of date practices, it is considered malpractice. In a school setting this was related back to teaching. Are we stuck in a rut? Stuck in our ways and our old habits? Do we have activities we don’t want to give up or things we don’t want to try? That’s not giving students our best or giving them what they will need for the future. That’s educational malpractice. That was a wake up call for some and for me it was a good reminder to always be aware of what I’m teaching, how I am teaching it and to keep up with what is going on in foreign language education.
The interesting thing that I thought of was the atmosphere and culture Elevation has set up of looking for those “broken windows”, places that need work, and instead of bringing problems to leaders, you come to them with solutions and ideas. I thought of how different volunteer teams work together to get things done on a Sunday or how volunteer leaders meet together across areas and across campuses to brainstorm and bounce ideas off one another. I’m already a part of a PLC…ELC (Elevation Learning Community? Ekidz Learning Community?). All of what I heard today made even more sense to me because I’ve already seen it in practice. Lead team meetings, VL meetings, Sunday mornings with volunteers…
This begs the question, are any of us committing spiritual malpractice? Not giving God our best? Not living up to our potential? Not seeking out new ways to connect with Him or making time to do so? That’s a hard one to consider and takes some time to think about. I’m thankful for Elevation as they continue to push us forward and seek to fuel our faith and force us to think about things like this (whether through sermons, worship, small group, etc). God is a God of motion, moving forward to be in step with Him. Time to step out of the same old practices that leave us stale and stagnant which carries the potential to lead us into spiritual malpractice and it’s time to resolve to move ahead.