Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My Return to Tribes-World

On the weekend, I attended the Ontario Tribes Learning Community Consortium conference in Stratford, Ontario. While I was there, I saw a couple of familiar faces - Mary and Nancy, the two Center Source Systems representatives that led my Tribes TLC Leadership training way back in 1999. Not only did I have to take a photo, I was inspired to find the photos I took way back then.

Nancy and Mary (middle right) in 1999 from my scrapbook
Nancy and Mary at the OTLCC conference in 2013
This really took me on a trip down memory lane. Here's a short Tribes timeline:

  • 1998 = went through my basic Tribes training (my Tribe was called "The Mixed Nuts")
  • 1999 = attended my Tribes facilitator training (my Tribe was called "PHNER")
  • 1999 = facilitated my first Tribes training (with Lillian at York University)
  • 2002 = re-certified my trainer qualifications at a summer institute
  • 2008 = the last training I co-facilitated (with Moses)
Part of the reason I attended this 2013 conference was because I'm scheduled to do another Tribes training in June 2013. I haven't trained in five years (for a variety of reasons) and I wanted to ensure that I was fresh and ready to take the plunge. I'm nervous about being involved with training again, but with wonderful people like Moses and Terry around for support, I'm ready to return. Although I haven't facilitated a training, I've been using the Tribes TLC process throughout my years of teaching and I consider myself fortunate that I heard about Tribes so early in my career. (I began teaching in 1997.) It has helped me so much.

One of the common activities that Tribes facilitators do is lead a discussion around "what brought you to Tribes". This is an abbreviated version of my Tribes story: in 1997 I attended a workshop led by the delightful and patient Simon Storey in the former Scarborough Board of Education on a particular conflict resolution program that my school was using. (I won't mention the name of the program because the rest of the story shines a bit of a negative light on it.) During the training, I kept raising my hand and questioning what Simon was saying. "My students can recite what they need to say but they don't transfer the skills." / "That doesn't work because my students don't care if they hurt other people's feelings." In hindsight, I felt bad for Simon for constantly interrupting and challenging him - but at the end of the workshop, Simon approached me and said "You know, you should try Tribes. That'll help answer some of the questions you raised." I took the training, embraced the philosophy and process, and the rest is history. Thank you Simon (and thank you Nancy and Mary and all the others that helped me along the Tribes trail). I hope I'll be a positive influence to some other educators as I introduce them to Tribes. 

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