The view from "inside the jar"
When I was a director, I was very self critical. I constantly felt like I wasn't doing enough, or that our service wasn't good enough. I was always looking over our environment with a judgemental eye, or wondering how we could improve our program.
We regularly had visits from the local TAFE and other training colleges, as well as from other professionals within the sector. They would come into our service - where we were undoubtedly doing things differently to many others within our community - and after they'd left, I would feel a renewed confidence that we were actually doing amazing. While they were there, I would hear their conversations, and answer their questions, and in doing so, would begin to see our service through very different eyes.
Recently, while at a business conference, Tash heard the following quote:
And it resonated with us, when it comes to the work we now do as consultants. We spend a lot of time visiting services and educators, supporting them in the various elements of their work. We come in to help the read the label, because they are in the jar and just can't quite see it!
One of my regular jobs is visiting services who are preparing for an assessment and rating visit. I love spending time in the service observing practice and highlighting all of the amazing things that they are doing and how they can use these as evidence of their high quality during the visit. I also love helping them to see where things may not be at the standard that they should be, or that the services want them to be. Not because I'm mean (nobody really likes that part!) but because I know what it's like to be so weighed down with stuff that you need someone to help you see.
HOW TO "READ THE LABEL WHEN YOU ARE INSIDE THE JAR"
There are a few ways that you can do this:
- Visit other services - this can help you gain perspective
- Invite others to visit your service
- Do a "room swap" with educators for a day (only one educator at a time to allow for consistency for children)
- Invite a consultant (ahem... like us) in to provide insight and support
It's okay to need support. In fact, it shows strength, curiosity and a commitment to quality.