Sunday, September 11, 2016

Leadership 101

I have worked for many principals. I also have an administrative credential, and have been in many teacher leadership positions. There are a few things I know for sure about being a principal and a leader:

1. I would never want to be a principal.  I know it is a tough job. But if you make the choice, then own it and do it right.
2. You must never forget what it is like to be a teacher and a student.
3. Talk, talk, talk to people before you make decisions. Always.
4. You must see yourself as an equal; you are no better than anyone else. Everyone is a part of the puzzle. Everyone does an important job. You, as a leader, must recognize that and lift everyone up.
5. Yes, there are tough parts of the job. But that is why the principal makes more money.
6. People will want to work for with you if you create an atmosphere of harmony and caring. No one wants to work for someone who lays down mandates and rules with an iron first, reminding others, "I am the boss," whether it be by actions, words, or both.
7. Be a good listener.
8. Be a good listener.
9. Be a good listener.
10. Don't ever hide the fact that you don't know all the answers. Everyone knows you don't. You gain much more respect when you admit that fact.
11. Admit when you make mistakes.
12. Lead with love.

This list, for the most part, works just as well for teachers. And I know I will think of more. But we all need to remember this when we step into a leadership role: How do I want to be led?

Friday, September 9, 2016

Not Next Year, NOW!

As teachers, it's easy to get overwhelmed. It's easy to blow it off and say "next year." It's easy when it's other people's kids. But your perspective changes when you are a parent. I am not saying you have to be a parent to be a good teacher, but your perspective changes. What you do matters RIGHT NOW for the kids in your class. Your students are depending on you RIGHT NOW. So, don't put off trying that new strategy. Or that new technology. Or that new project. Or getting rid of the sacred cows that don't work. Because that kid in your class could be mine. And one day, that kid in my class could be yours.

Monday, September 5, 2016

It's 2016 for Crying Out Loud!

I keep hearing the song from Frozen in my head...... "Let it go..... Let it go!" Please, for your students, LET IT GO! Let go of homework. Why? Well, because research shows it doesn't help, and can often hurt kids. Stop keeping students in at recess. Why? Well, because research shows it doesn't help, and can often hurt kids. Give kids brain breaks (REAL ONES). Why? Because research shows it really helps, and if you don't, you are just making life harder on yourself. (And hurting kids.) Seriously.

Stop blaming the victim. Start looking in the mirror. If things aren't working well in class, take a good hard look at what YOU can do. There's nothing wrong with the kids. There's nothing wrong with their parents. It's you. It's ALL you, because YOU are driving the bus.

Let it go. Let go of all the tired practices that don't work anymore. (Did they ever?) Embrace change. If you don't, you will be left behind. Heck, there are many teachers that already are. And who are they hurting? Kids. My kids. Your kids. Our kids.

Let it go.