Last but certainly not least in Season 1 of Inspire & Innovate: A Podcast for Educators, we feature NAIS Chief Innovation Officer: Tim Fish. He started his career as a 4th-grade teacher and has served as a founder, board member, and consultant for a variety of education and technology-related schools, organizations, and companies. His Magnetic Mountain metaphor has been formative for school leaders across the country as representation of the trajectory of innovation that school organizations take on, and we found that speaking with Tim really brought it home for classroom teachers as well. We found Tim warm, honest, and thought-provoking, and we hope you do too.
During our conversation, we discussed:
- How fourth graders gave Tim his first orientation to the world of teaching and why playing football with the kids at recess can have unintended consequences (4:02-7:15)
- How Tim conceptualizes innovation. Spoiler alert- it has nothing to do with chasing the shiny and new! (11:07- 12:39)
- Why it’s important to differentiate between the what and the how of innovation . . . and why doing “retrospectives” can reframe failure as learning (16:10-18:04)
- Why deep empathy and vision-led innovation are a powerful combination in this particular historical moment (18:05-19:25)
- How Tim’s interest in “nose down to nose up” NAIS schools led him to first conceptualize the Magnetic Mountain (20:05-25:27)
- What this journey metaphor has to do with the micro everyday choices that classroom teachers make (26:45-32:28)
- What Tim doesn’t mean by “not returning to now-town” (teachers- you are going to applaud!) . . . and a reminder that innovation is a disposition. (33:30-35:55)
- What now-town has to do with bias, privilege, and inequity (37:57-38:59)
- The difference between reactive and proactive innovation . . . and why the reactive innovation we’ve all been doing in response to the pandemic is much more draining (39:13-40:25)
- Why agency is a big deal for both faculty and students now more than ever and one trend Tim’s noticed among teachers that have maintained energy during this difficult season (41:25-42:38)
- How one high school faculty member managed to maintain high academic standards in this difficult past year while recentering the student experience (43:45-48:19)
- How Tim’s favorite teacher when he was a young reaffirms the importance of “really climbing into kids’ lives, being present with them, and helping them take the next step, whatever that might be” (53:26-55:15)
- Must-reads from Tim! (57:44-58:50)
In this week’s Teacher Talks episode, we feature the amazing Sheena White (Head of Foundations), Susan Pace (4th grade teacher extraordinaire), and Dean Julius (7th grade English). They extend, adapt, and reimagine Tim’s metaphor in powerful ways and collectively help us take a breath just in time for summer.