The Educator Paradox
Sometimes there is no credit for being right. In many cases, there is a big difference between being right and making the right things happen.
Suppose you see a disaster coming, and you are right about that disaster, it is going to happen. Here are two decisions you can consider: 1) Be right, or; 2) Try to be wrong, and make the right thing happen. But Caution; by striving to prevent bad predictions come to true you prove yourself being wrong.
What is it being right in time perspective? Should we strive to be right now or should we focus on doing right and being right in (future) retrospective?
Let us have a deeper look at these two options to see the illusion of being right and how it all reflects in the education.
If you want to be right, if you want the credit (sometimes without even notice) you will be right if you will show that it happened “hey, here, as I told you, here is the disaster, as I told you. It happened, I am right“— so you were right and here is your credit, but what is the point of this credit?
Make The Right Thing Happen
If you want to make the right thing happen, you must to put yourself aside, eliminate the human weakness of wanting to be right, look at the big picture, with you small inside it (not too small, but as little as you really are) be aware of the thinking error in being right versus making right things happen. If you do all this, you must know that by making the right things happen you prevent from a disaster to happen, and by doing this you lose the only proof of you being right. And sometimes even you can not be sure that you were right, but if you are focused on the right things to happen, who cares? If the new ways are better (maybe not perfect, or not perfect yet), then leave the old path and leave the credit.
Now here are the values meeting the power of perspective thinking… choose, do you want to be right and take the credit or do you want to do the right thing happen, maybe in the price of losing all your credit?
Between a Man and His Fellow
If you recognize somebody doing something irrational, and you might think that he even getting crazy; by proving that you are right, you make him crazy. By striving to show that you are wrong you can help him to see a more rational path (rational from your perspective) or maybe have a better look at his relative rationality. In both scenarios, you might prove yourself wrong, but you better smile while tasting the fruits of the unthankful dirty business of making the right things happen; So you have no credit, but maybe you have an uncrazy friend, and maybe you even got yourself a wider spectrum of rationality? In practice, if you choose the global perspective and hope to be wrong, the situation remains unchanged, or maybe, you got yourself a much better situation. Well, maybe…
Education System in Paradox
In education, where we deal with a prediction and creation of the future, this paradox should be termed as the “The Paradox of the Coach” or “The Paradox of the Educator.” Let us talk about mathematics skill. Let us think, for example, about a math teacher and his student. As a teacher, you teach skills and then test the skills of your students. You classify them, and as a side effect, you prove them being good or bad in math (on the scale of 100 points). Suppose you have a student and he is classified as good as 70 points in math. Now you know that this student is not so good at math, and probably you are right (at the moment).
Now you can choose, do you want to prove bad math skills of your student? Or do you want to prove that maybe you are wrong?
It is your choice to end the process with a grade and classification, or maybe, you can take action with a glimpse into your student future, losing your “being right credit,” just to prove that maybe you are wrong. I mean maybe…
This lesson learned in my early days in a boarding school, by my coach and leader, Asaf Enoch. Thank you, Asaf, for making the right things happen.
Twenty years after being my guide, twenty years of keeping in touch and being present, Asaf and I had a chat on leadership in which he shared his perspective on what is leadership and education;
True leadership starts with presence and bringing meaning into actions. And actions like all things, they have real meaning if they last; not evaporating with time. (Asaf Enoch, in actions and words)
Education, is leadership, is being present in the future.