Recently, it was my niece’s first birthday party. My sister held a big event where all the family and their closest friends gathered. Actually, it was everyone except for my family. I was oblivious to the momentous occasion even happening until I saw the photos being shared on social media. I was annoyed and wondered why we weren’t invited. In the days following, my inner voice created all sorts of negative scenarios, reasons and explanations. I’d lost all ability to logically justify or understand her decision.
Finally, it got the better of me and I reached out for a chat. Her response wasn’t what I expected.
It turns out that I was on the list and received the same invite like everyone else. I had just missed the message. When we talked, it was apparent that she was fighting similar negative thoughts, emotion and frustration as me. She blamed me.
You could imagine how guilty I felt.
Although we joke about this story now, I couldn’t help but think how many times this sort of thing happens in schools.
How many different mediums of communication do you use in your school? Multiple email addresses, bulletins, Teams, Compass, Facebook Groups, Facebook Pages or Messenger. I’ve only scratched the surface, but it does highlight the potential problem of too many options. Have you ever had that moment when you know that you’ve seen something important but can’t find it? Or just as bad, that time there was a meeting yesterday and you missed it? You can end up searching multiple platforms for hours.
It’s important that you agree on the platforms for communication at your school and stick to them. It might be something like using email for operations and Teams for collaboration. Just keep them limited.
This issue also highlighted the importance of talking. Don’t make assumptions like I did! When our inner voice becomes negative, it can be hard to stop. It’s essential that when we have a concern, we discuss it with our colleagues and don’t let it fester. It can be easy in these circumstances to lose perspective.
Try and approach situations with curiosity and a willingness to understand the perspective of the other person. Take out the guessing and replace it with dialogue.
Finally, there needs to be an element of personal responsibility taken. You can’t use too many platforms as a cop-out or blame others for information overload. Develop good systems and practices so missing something meaningful is a rare occurrence and not an everyday event.