Retreat to Reconnect with My Creative Force

Teachers are the Innovators.jpg


In July of 2015 I began coaching with The Teachers Guild.  It was a handful of educators from various locations in the United States, all skilled in the use of Design Thinking in the classroom. My training in Design Thinking began at the Stanford d.School and I have been able to practice my craft for several years at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School and train others through MVIFI.  The Guild initial mission centered around guiding educators through 30 design challenges in 3 years.  I was excited about the opportunity to work with educators in various parts of the world and to tackle challenges that face all educators.  Although excited, I soon realized that virtual coaching came with a set of new challenges.  I desired additional training and an opportunity to meet the other members of our team.  When the opportunity for a Coaches Retreat was introduced I said YES before all the details were set.  


October 20, 2016 I trekked across the country back to the San Francisco Bay for two days of training and fun.  Our first day was spent at IDEO offices, our team gathered under the leadership of Emma Scripps and Molly McMahon.  We started off by creating a set of Agreements to assist us through our deep dive into The Guild.  The Agreements/Norms reminded me of the need to establish culture is a requirement to do great work.  

  1. Be Present
  2. Be Excellent
  3. Assume Good/ Be Optimistic
  4. Have Fun
  5. National Park Rules

Soon after we discussed how we saw The Guild and I was quickly reminded why I wanted to Coach and Be Coached.  WHAT IS THE GUILD? “Team of Educators coming together to tackle the tough questions surrounding the future of education and providing solutions to those questions.”  HOW?

  1. Working Collaboratively
  2. Disrupting Educators
  3. Systemic Change
  4. Committed to Teachers as a Creative Force
  5. Inclusive
  6. Diversity
  7. Online and In Person Meetups
  8. Reimagining Today and Tomorrow
  9. Committed
  10. Creative Spaces

The highlight of my day was meeting the founder of the Teachers Guild, Sandy Speicher.  It was not just meeting her but it was what she shared.  She spoke about the Design Thinking for Educators being produced to support teachers in the design work they already do on a daily basis.  She shared why teachers need to be involved in the creation of the culture of school.  How it is important to tackle the vague, messy and sticky issues surrounding education.  Why it is important to hear complaints and then start investigative learning and designing possible solutions.  She reminded me that teachers need to view themselves as Designers and a Creative Force.


We all have to be reminded of our greater purpose.  Sometimes it takes getting away from the day-to-day norm and gain a different perspective.  Being around the other members of the team and learning from IDEO designers helped me to refocus my energy and thinking.  Hope to share more soon.  


Artwork courtesy of Erin Quinn


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