When is when?

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” -Dr. Maya Angelou

Dr. Maya Angelou

Dr. Angelou has been on my mind lately. My wife and I are just back from a spring break trip to Washington DC. It was a 2 year postponed anniversary trip. It hit all the targets we love in a vacation. Nice place to stay, vibrant city, lots of museums, art, food, family, and friends.

The first place we visited was the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The impact this museum had on my wife and me was profound. The subject for a separate blogpost entirely.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Dr. Angelou’s quote was in my mind leaving the museum. “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” Such an elegant, clear, and seemingly simple idea.

My wondering is when is ‘when’?

What has happened for doing better to commence? I was just chatting with my buddy Ben Ramirez, solving all the day’s and world’s concerns. I asked him. He contends that the ‘when’ is when you have learned something. A solid place to start. I fall back to Katz and Dack. “Professional learning results in a permanent change in thinking or behavior.”  That seems like a pretty good indication of a ‘when’. When one’s thinking or behavior has been permanently changed, then do better.

What causes the permanent change in thinking or behavior other necessary for learning? The impact of a trusted friend’s thinking and influence? Reading something? Experiencing something? Hearing something?

Going through the museum, I had the words of a colleague in my mind. I thought about the balance between trauma and celebration. I thought about the opportunities kids of color have to be their authentic selves. I thought about the exhibits that prohibit photography.

Now I’m thinking about my when. And doing better.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” -Dr. Maya Angelou

Author: Jeff Nelson

Jeff Nelson Fife School District Assistant Superintendent:Teaching-Learning-Innovation 38 years as an educator. 16 years teacher 3 years assistant principal 12 years principal 7 years Assistant Superintendent BA, Washington State University MAEd, Washington State University Previous member of AWSP Legislative Committee Previous member of UW Tacoma PEAB, Administrative Certification Established and maintained Fife’s first website for 7 years Present work includes establishing the first Teaching/Learning/Innovation department in the Fife School District. Examples of responsibilities include: teacher/administrator professional development, assessment, TPEP, curriculum/materials review, 24 credit requirement, technology levy leadership, teacher/administrator bargaining. Initiatives underway in Fife, as a result of new TLI Department: AVID, OER, Curriculum and Materials reviews, Student Perception Pilot with CSTP, Google Expedition Cofounder of Educational Internet Communications, LLC. Marketed and sold one of the first online grade checking programs in the US. Consulted with Seattle Educational Internet Company for 2 years. jnelson@fifeschools.com twitter.com/jeffnelsonTLI

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