July 27, 2013

Leadership Reflections circa 2011 and now

The thoughts that follow were written over a year ago. Current ideas will be italicized.
I love my job and my team. (I had to make sure you know that.) The assistant superintendent assigned her department personnel to work with a school throughout the district.
At first, I loved the idea. Since coming into education, I've wanted to be a part of a school to help it become better. Not necessarily in an administrative position, but to be a support role with administrative guidance. After planning with the awesome group of admins at my assigned school, a few facilitated meetings with teachers, and debriefing meeting with the admins, I've come to the realization: I have so much to learn even though I've been in education for more than 10 years!
Leading people, more precisely adults, is different than leading a group of children under the age of 12. Did I mention these are teachers? (bird walk coming) I went to college hearing that college teaches you to think more broadly and provides background for your future career. No kidding! I've used more processes than I care to think of. (end bird walk)
In my final project and research paper for my Master's, I researched the impact of use of interactive whiteboards in classrooms. As you guessed or already knew, there wasn't much research completed by 2007. So, part of my reading lead me to deal with teacher beliefs and attitudes. With every new initiative that is implemented, buy-in has to be near, if not, 100 percent for it to succeed (if not get off the ground).
Have you ever thought, "Why does it have to be so high?" Teaching/training is a personal act. Generally speaking, those who do it because they enjoy it immensely. Not one teacher will do the same lesson plan in the same way even if they have the same group of students.
Teaching is an expression of the heart. (Another bird walk) So maybe all the talk of proper education reform is really a discussion of how to treat people in such a way that they feel safe to make decisions that affect our future society. (end)
In a leadership debriefing session, we figured out there is something(s) in the way of teachers adopting a proven method of thinking. This method of thinking requires intentional planning, forethought, action, and reflection on the process. In periphery it also requires collaboration, clear communication, and intrinsic motivation. The teachers do these things every day, but may not be completely cognizant of it. But I'm sure 90% do not complete every step when planning where a lesson, unit, or their academic year is going.
I have three questions for my district teachers bouncing around in my head beg for real answers. Not a pat, cliche' laden answers. Authentic answers that come from the heart. Answers that are longer than one or two sentences because the children and you deserve more.
Why are you a teacher?
Why are you spending your time leading children down a path of education which you may or may not be confident is a great way to go?
Do you feel empowered to follow your our heart and be true to it while doing your job?

I still have these questions and am open to your answers.

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