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I am still Mike Mohammad a.k.a Mo Physics

I am still Mike Mohammad I am not a “yeah me” kind of person, but yesterday June 4th was an amazing day for me professionally. Two years ago on June 4th, I was in a medical coma (we’ll save that story for a future post.) I am proud of my work yesterday, I just wanted to take a moment to share it and celebrate myself (which I never do.)  If you don’t know me, I have been a secondary science educator for 20+ years and have taught 7 different science courses in my career. This year, though, I had been asked to make the transition to a Teaching and Learning Specialist. In this role, I work with teachers with EdTech tools and have a specialty in our district’s learning management system Canvas. I was one of the first teachers to pilot the system and have used it extensively in my classroom to help streamline workflows. Its use also helps in college readiness as most universities in our state, Wisconsin, use it as their learning management system. Ok, enough of that let’s talk about June 4th

Innovate, Lose, Grow

One of the great stories of Innovation shared in Innovator's Mindset is that of Blockbuster and Netflix. A part of the story that I’d like to reflect on is the failure of Netflix. Most of us didn’t know about it because we didn’t have a personal interest in Netflix, yet. The graph below is taken from a series that Derek Bennington did at Chief Innovator.  As you can see Netflix was not an instant success. They lost money for years before they began to grow.

In a meeting four years ago, our assistant superintendent for teaching and learning Dr. Dana Monogue began by drawing a curve on the board similar to this:
She noted that the gains in our district had flatlined. Yes we were one of the highest performing district in the state now, but we weren’t preparing learners for tomorrow.  She put forth the challenge that we needed to change our model before we lost touch with the workplace of tomorrow and saw negative gains.
She next drew a second curve that represented a shift in practice, an attempt to innovate.

As you can see by this graph and the Netflix graph, they begin with loses. That day Dr. Monogue told us something I had never heard an administrator say before.  She communicated that our test scores might go down at first, but that’s ok. She let us know that she believed that short term losses are what long term success is built upon. Innovation requires a commitment to your goal and sticking to it.
It is one of those moments that I cling to as an educator.  It told me that my administration trusted me to be an agent of change, my failures didn’t define me, and they knew learning was more than just a score.  They understood that to innovate one must lose before growing.


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