One of the aspects I loved (and miss) about working at #IntegrityAcademy was the monthly staff practice of NVC (Non-Violent Communication). Though not always perfect in practice, as a whole group and as individuals, we tried to practice active listening skills when we were in staff meetings, even raising our hands to take turns when the conversations turned lively and emotional. Although there were interruptions from time to time, most listened and absorbed and then responded. Our school rules were The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz, and I saw many staff actively practicing “Do not take anything personally”. I had a major conflict with another teacher pretty the entire two years I was there—someone unprofessional and toxic—and I had to tell myself over and over again not to take her actions and words personally, that she had her own issues and was taking them out on me. One off the downsides was not being protected by the former director from this toxicity. But the upside of practicing NVC and The Four Agreements outweighs that experience now, as I take my practice into a new environment where I am inspired to teach the staff at my new school a better, more effective, and definitely more compassionate way of communicating with each other. I hope they are open to it! And while not always perfect, I try to practice that in all of my relationships and communication interchanges. Sometimes it comes later, as I reflect how I was NOT listening and NOT practicing NVC, but, with awareness comes change. I am grateful for my close to two years of learning and growing at IA.
...Small actions in a dynamic system will trigger vast and unexpected changes