Don’t just do something—stand there

17 Apr Don’t just do something—stand there

Are you a do-er? A planner? A get-it-done-at-all-costs kind of team member? As a former teacher, I know the feeling. Throughout my career, a flawless performance has been rewarded. I spent so much time cultivating that part of my identity, I came to believe that’s all I was: an achiever.

It took me leaving the classroom to remember how to pause. That it’s important to pause. That it can be highly strategic to pause.

When I began working at Rêve Academy, I was determined to excel. What that meant was putting in long hours, taking every scrap of feedback I could get, and maintaining my trademark enthusiasm—even when I felt like crying. And three years ago, it also meant that I had little time for small talk. Or rather, I didn’t make time for it. So when Michael (pictured above), then a high schooler from North Minneapolis, wanted to chat, I didn’t make time for it. Until one day I did.

That’s when I learned of his innate drive to succeed—something we had in common! I also learned about his passion for design, love of blues music, and thoughts on politics. This kid was deep—how did I not see that before?! Maybe it’s because I was spending my time trying to design perfect experiences and outcomes in an effort to validate my identity as a do-er. Now, I’m creating new practices.

Because I’m not chasing flawless execution, I’m able to enjoy what students bring to the table.

Because I don’t own all the planning, I see young people take ownership as their own planning skills develop.

Because I’m not coordinating every moment, I get to be present for—and celebrate—the small victories along the way.

Is this process messier? Certainly. Have I missed some self-imposed deadlines? Absolutely. And it still causes me great discomfort most days. But I am committed to stay the course. I want to try to do less that I might know my students more.

Rêve Academy
Rêve Academy

Rêve Academy helps students dream with direction by providing pathways to digital careers. We create marketable talent by combining immersive coursework with real-world experience.