Vision, Reality, and Purpose

There are at least three versions of reality that coexist in a school. Ideally, these are identical, but at times they are cataclismically different. These realities are:

  • The administration reality

  • The teacher reality

  • The student reality

If these realities are the same, everyone operates under the similar understanding, beliefs, and expectation. Decisions are made because "that's how we do things." Not that we function as mindless automatons, but that we function from a position of unified thinking.

When these realities are not the same, there is an authentic problem. It may not seem like a problem at the beginning. However, at some point they will conflict. The reason for the conflict is the life each reality takes on independently. Decisions are made, coalitions are forged, and norms are established independent from other realities.

The unsettling thing is that those in each version of reality may be unaware there are other realities occupying the same space. People existing in separate realities can interact without realizing the difference in their day to day. But, at some point, someone operating in one reality will collide with someone operating in another.

When this happens a few things come to light:

Animosity: People of one reality will not understand people of another reality. Due to the lack of vocabulary, it is easy to resent others. A mentality of "Us vs. Them" becomes certain.

Division: With that sense of "Us vs. Them," you begin to see fracturing in your school where incognizant divides become intentional separation.

Disassociation: That separation can turn in to intentional avoidance. This can turn disassociation into a conscious disregard.

The solution to all of this is communication and honesty. Everyone must be aware of the contrast in vision and reality, and, with that awareness, honestly approach differences. The art of listening becomes your greatest asset in the alignment of reality and the unification of purpose.

Your thoughts are welcomed and encouraged,

Dane Barner


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