On kingdoms, classrooms, and collaboration (Part 2)

Collaboration can be fun… right? Right?


From great Advanced Placement classes to Agricultural Programs to Debate, one common factor of a thriving kingdom at a school seems to be a great ruler for that kingdom. Often Type-A personalities,these rulers are highly organized, charismatic, and passionate.  They set up a kingdom with its own culture, rewards systems, hierarchies, and goals. The rulers are beloved by their subjects, capable of challenging them and inspiring them to excel. The program’s dependence on the ruler may be  matched by the ruler’s dependence on the program. The program isn’t just a job, it’s a passion and a calling. The teachers will spend hours after school and on the weekends working with their students: attending competitions, putting on performances, organizing events, preparing for projects. Their devotion extends well beyond the norm.

Logically, all of the above also seems to make the rulers highly territorial. Invaders in their kingdoms are often met with suspicion, if not outright hostility. Alliances with other kingdoms must be sniffed out tentatively and may be based more on the mutual friendship of two rulers than upon the natural collaborative goals two kingdoms might accomplish together. Ned and Robert loved each other like brothers and accomplished great things together, but Robert (and Ned) might have been a lot better off, if he’d allied himself with, say, Oberon Martell and the kingdom of Dorne instead of his old drinking and warring buddy, Ned.

With all of this in mind, it’s little wonder that the tricky work of trying to create alliances between programs can have disastrous results (Robert Baratheon and Cersei Lannister). Similarly, just going with one’s heart with no regard for practicality can be equally tragic (the Red Wedding). So, how does one go about trying to forge alliances between kingdoms and the rulers of those kingdoms? How do we harness the tremendous talents of these rulers toward a larger purpose without demoralizing and alienating them? This is something I’ve been struggling with a lot lately, and I’ll try to make some recommendations in part 3.





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