Robyn Jackson


Washington, DC

Interests: Professional...

  • Posted 1 Year ago
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Telescope, Microscope, Periscope, or Stethoscope?

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I recently read a post by one of my mentors about the different lenses through which entrepreneurs need to view their businesses and it occurred to me -- as educators we have several “lenses” through which we see our work. The challenge is that we must choose the right lens for the right situation.

Here’s what I mean:

Sometimes we need to view our work through a telescope. There are times when we need to take the long view of our work and keep our eyes fixed on our goals even though they seem far away. There are situations where we need to hold onto our vision and our big “WHY” in order to move past the temporary set-backs and frustrations and maintain unwavering faith that we will reach our goals.

Other times we need to view our work through a microscope. There are times when we must pay attention to the details and actually sweat the small stuff before it gets out of control. Going deep and understanding at a cellular level our students, our curricula, our school organization, our pedagogy can often be the difference between ordinary and extraordinary teaching and leadership. Taking time to examine the small things can lead us to reaching that student who others have ignored, catching those things that tend to slip through the cracks, and ultimately making that big difference we have set out to make.

Sometimes we need to view our work through a periscope. We will face obstacles from time to time but periscopes are designed to look over and around obstacles. They help us look beyond what may be in the way and navigate past what may be blocking our way. This helps you deal with the inevitable threats to your work and find your way successfully around them.

Finally, there are times when we need to view our work through a stethoscope. We need to listen to our hearts and the hearts of those we serve. We need to check in with our own hearts to make sure that we are doing the right work the right way. We need to check the hearts of others to make sure that we are serving them in a way that honors them.

The challenge is of course that we must use all four lenses when viewing our work.

  • If we only use a telescope, we are so focused on the future that we never consider how our work right now will affect our ability to get there.
  • If we only use a microscope, we lose sight of the big picture and get too bogged down by the details.
  • If we only use a periscope, we become so obsessed with obstacles and challenges that we quickly lose our way.
  • If we only use the stethoscope we may avoid making the hard decisions.

This is why it is so critical to use the right lens at the right time and to be aware when you are depending on solely one lens.

So I’m curious. Through what lens are you currently viewing your work right now? How would it look different if you viewed it through another lens?

Share your thoughts. I can’t wait to read your comments.

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