Typically, I don’t write a lot over the summer. I love trying to ‘catch up’ with all the reading I have wanted to do. That said, when I read this #CHARLESTONCHURCHSHOOTING; it resonated so much with me that I had to share it! Seriously!? Bill Ferriter has many great insights. This post, though, really gets to the essence of why I am an educator. Thank you William Ferriter!
- Unquenchable desire to make things better;
- Unwavering commitment to do what one must, to change;
- Unstoppable will to try and try and try again to build a school culture that creates and sustains excellence!
(Deal, Terrence E., and Kent D. Peterson. The Principal’s Role in Shaping School Culture. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, Programs for the Improvement of Practice, 1991. Print.)
Easy! Right? There’s no doubt that it takes hard work. Those three bullet-ed points boil down to staying the course with as much energy and enthusiasm as possible. Just as important (perhaps, more so!) is knowing where to focus your energy.
Begin by asking these questions:
- Do we know who we are as a school? What is our identity? What do we stand for?
- Do we share common values? What are our beliefs about students, education and learning?
- Do we face our issues head-on? Can we build unity through resolved conflicts?
- Do we ‘walk the talk‘? Does each of us model what we expect to see in others?
- Do we have stories that exemplify who we are, who we want to be and how to become that?
- Do our ceremonies, symbols and traditions illustrate and reflect our identity?
Develop a clear vision of our (your) mission. Make sure we (you) have the right people ‘on the bus’, respecting those who are better suited somewhere else. Look at ourselves (yourself) honestly and resolve disputes/conflict positively. “Be the change” we (you) want to see. Become a story-teller… of stories that sustain our (your) vision. Continually reflect on who we (you) are (as a school) and whether what we (you) say and do is aligned to who we (you) are and where we (you) are headed.
Let’s do it!
This was posted on my birthday, last year, by Goodwill Librarian (on Facebook). Even though I do not know who Goodwill Librarian is nor do I think Goodwill Librarian knows who I am (it was a public post) – I ‘took it personally’ in only good ways and have finally decided to share it! Gotta love Dr. Seuss!
Anyway, I’m a generally positive person and I try to look at the ‘positive side’ of any situation… usually that works well for me but I sometimes set myself up for disappointment when I have an unrealistically positive view.
Here’s a guy that inspires me because he hasn’t let his challenge ‘stop’ him: Nick Vujicic (see video links, below).
LinkedIn… I’ll give it a plug because that’s how I arrived at the article I want to share with the world, today! First, though, a little sidenote on how wonderful technology can be… A fellow admin colleague at Graded in Brazil – Blair Peterson, Tweeted about an “Inside Higher Ed” article. I received the tweet (which had a link to the article) in my LinkedIn feed AND presto!
So… read the article!!! It brought tears to my eyes as I thought about my own children and the steps (and missteps) we take as parents. It’s easy to say… “accept people for who they are”. In fact, it’s simplistic because on one level we absolutely MUST accept others for who they are AND we must empower them to reach further than they think they can. This results in a constant tension between pushing our kids and accepting their efforts. I’ve heard some parents say, “I accept only your best effort” and that may be where the balance is.
What do you think?
Book study completed! Now what?
Point made repeatedly: We really already know
what we SHOULD be doing… .
The phenomenon (to use a relatively neutral descriptor) of the Learning – Doing Gap seems to occur for a variety of reasons (fear, lack of focus, lack of belief in self-efficacy [caused by many other factors], lack of skills/capacity, laziness, confusing talk with action [talking about what we can/should be doing is not
actually doing it], etc.). Personally, I think it really comes down to three things: the willingness of leaders to commit time and effort to a single-minded focus (on student learning); effective communication skills, ability to build trust (and eliminate fear).
The Dufours sure chose an appropriate title – Learning by Doing. That automatically takes care of being action orientated AND building trust (as we learn together we inevitably make mistakes and take risks… by doing that together, we build trust). At the heart of it – there are no shortcuts. We all want a magic
bullet that makes everything better without much effort. It does take effort but it doesn’t need to be an EXTRA effort. The benefits far outweigh the costs when there is a clear focus and you ‘cut-out’ what doesn’t need to be done. Work smarter and more focused, not harder.