1. Teresa Murray

    I am not sure that there is any other profession that experiments with children as much as teaching. It is filled with platitudes, empty phrases, clichéd and meaningless thought. Much of educational research is very poor and individuals feel free to simply jump in and do whatever they dream up. The vast majority of teachers teach the way they do because that is what works the best for most students. Teachers operate under very difficult circumstances and wisdom accrued over decades should not be dismissed as ‘copying’ or as ‘teaching the way I was taught.’ No the 21st century does not change everything – the biggest cliché of all.

    • No, I totally agree: the 21st century does not change everything! I enjoy blogging, too, and my great role model is Montaigne, a blogger avant la lettre. A lot of wisdom in his 16th century essays that can still be applied in 2016! Feel free to check out my website – I am still in the early stages of establishing my blog: http://www.astridseele.com

  2. Laura

    Love everything about this! As a principal, you can be as original or creative as you want to be. Just be what your kids need!

  3. Tony

    LOVE this piece George- thank you for writing it and for the sage advice! So fortunate to be learning from you on a daily basis!

  4. Spiri Howard

    Hello George 🙂

    A dear friend of mine is moving on from Principal to an Asst. Superintendent position. Ironic the timing of this post. I’ll write what I told him as he had the same concerns (missing the learners).

    When I think of school leaders in more formal administrative roles, I think…the greater the challenge, the greater the impact of their actions on learning. Regardless if they are surrounded by learners or not. A successful school leader plays a significant (and underestimated) role in improving student learning. I think I read somewhere that admin/school leadership is second only to classroom instruction among all school-related factors that contribute to what students connect to and learn at school. That’s impressive!

    Great school leaders focus on the importance of teaching and learning & they keep that at the forefront of their decision making. To me a school leader’s main focus is in making schools work better for kids. Great school leaders remember their roots and love of learning. They may not be with learners as often or frequent, but they never lose sight of those learners. They make a huge impact without F2F interaction, and reach a larger audience. Their influence in a child’s education is huge, they just need to believe that it is.

    Please give high accolades & kudos to your friend, in one way, shape, form or another…s/he is making a difference in a child’s life… it’s just a behind the scenes difference.

    Thanks for enlightening…Hope all is well 🙂

  5. I couldn’t agree more! The move to principal was easier for me than the move from principal to district office leader. But scheduling regular classroom and school visits makes a world of different. Plus, that’s where the most important work takes place!

    I’ve had the same fear about the role of Superintendent and a wise colleague told me, “Don’t be like the Superintendents you’ve seen; do what you know is best as a leader of a school system!”

  6. If only everyone had the drive to think like an innovator! This reminds me of David Sturts book: Great Work! We must leverage our differences and shift our mindsets to create a new process for a new outcome!

  7. Tsepiso

    Thanks for sharing these inspiring ideas George. I read your posts so many times because I find them very inspiring and informative. I have just been appointed the acting principal and with no prior experience in the position, I thought about so many things that I should do in these four months that I will be acting as a principal.

    You are doing a good work!

  8. NZ principal

    This would be wonderful if it could be made to happen. In NZ, many principals are completely snowed under with the quantity of work that comes over our desks. Our hands are tied by bureaucracy.
    I am responsible for appointing and managing staff, budgeting and finance, property including new building projects, health and safety, vulnerable children, payroll, appraisal, computers and IT, Professional Development, compliance and, of course, curriculum design and implementation. Some of the tasks can be delegated by I have the responsibility for it.
    And I am appraised against that and the same criteria as teachers.
    The work has to be done and I am employed to do it.

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