How I will start my week

As I am currently reading “Linchpin” by Seth Godin, I was moved by the following excerpt from his book on schools and leadership:

“Leading is a skill, not a gift. You’re not born with it, you learn how. And schools can teach leadership as easily as they figured out how to teach compliance. Schools can teach us to be socially smart, to be open to connection, to understand the elements that build a tribe. While schools provide outlets for natural-born leaders, they don’t teach it. And leadership is now worth far more than compliance is.”

Our “why” in our school is to empower every student, staff member, and parent so that they can be a leader.

This week, I am going to do a little more to help everyone reach their leadership potential.  What will you do to empower others?

Believe in the Kids

An old video that hits the point on how we really need to believe in people. A line that stuck with me from this video is when Frankl says,  “If we seem to be idealist and are overrating man, and looking at him to be high, we promote him to what he really can be.”

When we look at the kids that may cause “issues”, do not give up and do not underestimate them.  If you do not believe in them, who will? If we believe that our students can reach great expectations, they are more likely to do so.

The Art of Thinking Critically

As there is a distinct time shift from B.G. and A.G. (Before Google and After Google), it is important that there is a shift in the way we see schools. Teaching 21st century learners means that we are working with students on being able to ask the right questions and learn to be critical thinkers. At one time, students had to work hard to learn the right answers to simple basic fact questions; a regurgitation of information that earned you high grades. It is now about enabling them to learn, evaluate and process information. It is also about THEM asking the right questions.

It is now our responsibility to work to develop students so that they become strong thinkers and learn to ask questions. The more technology develops, the easier it is to access simple information that does not take much thinking. We have to ensure students learn how to understand and evaluate this information.

I was led to the video below via Twitter and I think that it hits the nail on the head in regards to how we need to move our students forward.

Evolution of a Blog

I was asked to recently do a short video on how I use blogs as an administrator in my school.  This was an impromptu talk that showed our progression from a one-way Web 1.0 website at the beginning of the year, to a Web 2.0 blog site.  It was a great reflection for myself to show our journey this year and how it has transitioned from staff learning to the students.  Hopefully this video can help you with your journey as well.

So you made a mistake…

Are you a leader?  Do you ever make mistakes?  I know I do.

So what is the most important lessons that you can take from making mistakes, especially as a person in a formal area of leadership?

Admit you are wrong.

Fix the problem; listen to the advice of others to get the best solution.

Learn from it and move forward.

Remember why you are an educator in the first place.  Your number one priority is the students, not your ego.  If you have made a mistake that affects them, swallow your pride and fix it.  It is always about the kids.  Always.

You will ultimately get MORE respect from those you work with if you can admit you are wrong instead of working hard to try to get the mistake.

Just saying.

I love this picture 🙂

Forest Green/CFL Mindmap (2010)

I have been wanting to try something different for our MindMap this year so I tried to have it so that there was more than just static pictures.  Having pictures and videos was a way for me to summarize the success of our year, but also give the viewer a little more information.

As this is not necessarily the final product, I would love some feedback!  Please share your thoughts on how to improve this.

[vodpod id=Video.3594568&w=425&h=350&fv=prezi_id%3Di-yvaqiew7zg%26amp%3Block_to_path%3D1%26amp%3Bcolor%3Dffffff%26amp%3Bautoplay%3Dno]

more about “Forest Green/CFL Mindmap (2010)“, posted with vodpod

Those Who Lead

I was led to the following video by my brother, Dr. Alec Couros, based on what makes a successful leader.  It talks about the “golden circle” and how important the “why” is when leading. It shares how successful companies use the “why” to inspire those they lead.

One of the quotes that I appreciated from this was the following:  “There are leaders and there are those who lead.”  I want to be the latter.

Please watch the video below to help you learn the importance of the “why” in your vision.

Be the Change

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Gandhi

I am an advocate of change.  Change to me is about growth and learning.  Change to me is about getting better.  The hard part for many is that change is also about reflection.  Taking a hard look at what you are doing and wondering if it is good enough is a tough practice.  Taking the next step and CHANGING the practice is even harder as some take it as a sign of things that were not done right.  I see it as growth.  Although there is the type of DRASTIC change that happened in Rhode Island where all the teachers were fired, but that is not what I am talking about. I can ALWAYS get better and so can you.  That is how I want to change.

As a principal, I am an advocate of growth.  I have heard this statement many times; “People are afraid of change.”  Maybe we need to re-look at this statement.  What I believe is that people are scared of TOTALLY changing and do something that they have never done before, or something that is totally new.  Is that REALLY what we are asking for?  Or are we asking that people grow and build upon already effective practices that could just get better?

Take students as an example.  A simple practice such as printing one day becomes cursive writing.  Do we tell the students, “DO NOT BE AFRAID OF CHANGE!!” or do we simply share that this is the next step in a process.  All we are doing is adding another tool that they can use in the classroom, we are not saying the old practice is obsolete.

For my staff, technology integration has been an area that we have not “changed” but where we have grown together.  At the beginning of the year, many staff did not have as much technology in the classroom so the tools that could have helped were not available.  As these tools became available, the staff GREW in their learning of their own teaching practices.  They still had a solid foundation for their teaching but just had added another avenue to use with students.

If you look change as a 180 degree shift in what you are doing, then of course it is going to be terrifying.  If we start to realize it is just growth, is it really that bad?  As educators, we expect our students to continuously grow in their learning.  We are the role models for this.  If you looked at the students twice in the year, beginning and end, it will look like they have made a drastic change.  What we know as educators is that the journey is more important than the beginning and end.  The growth that has happened during that year is what is important and what has happened.

As administrators, know that this “change” we speak of takes time if you want to be long lasting.  Know the journey of growth that happens is important and should be made together.  In my career as an educator, I never looked it as change but just growing alongside my students.  If you are not willing to grow and learn, maybe you really do need a change.