Thursday, June 26, 2014

Having v Wanting Control

I have gotten into Cal Newport's blog about study hacks. There's no gimmick. He works at efficiency and intensity, challenging himself to do tougher work each day because that's how to develop passion and opportunity.

His book So Good They Can't Ignore You is worthwhile as is his blog. The book says that "follow your passion" is bad job advice. Instead, develop your craft so you stand out and have more control. Having control differs from wanting it. Having control is a matter of choice and ability. Wanting control is hoping someone will give it. Guess which method is more effective.

Yesterday was my last day at school until September. I teach because I want to have control, but my school doesn't trust teachers. The administration encourages following not leading.

I've thrown fits, screaming, "I want control!" without much result.

Lately, I'm having control. I'm applying for jobs. I'm helping to direct our National Writing Project site, The Seven Valleys Writing Project. I'm saying yes to opportunities. Having control is a process of small steps.

At school I've run into the old relationship adage that you can't change the other person. The administration is opposed to teachers having control. I can't change that, but I can change myself.

At my performance review I was told that I'm developing, one step above ineffective and two below highly effective. Last year, I was ineffective and took it hard. I wanted control and the administration withheld it. This year, they offered me a small measure of control, but it requires me to buy into the review process. I reject that offer.

Having control requires me to assess myself well and make progress by doing tougher work each day to develop my skills. Having control requires that I follow a better model than the one in my school. I know the model to follow. I know what to do. It can be summed up in two words: write on.