The content we teach is a living thing. With each year we mature in the classroom or leadership, we must grow and adjust with the times we are working in, taking what we have learned from the past and modeling how to apply current learning with what came before.
Education professionals throw their whole selves into what they do--at least I did. Always learning and feeling good at work often took me away from my family.
The heavy lifting is in their hands, just like with student learning. We can't do the learning for them, but we can provide all of the necessary ingredients for success to be possible.
Leadership is hard and helping adults develop into their best selves takes time and patience. Not everyone will be ready to hear the message or take the risk, but we can't give up on. We need to meet them where they are (just like with our students) and help them grow from there. Differentiate your approach based on what you know and continue to learn about your team members and share feedback regularly.
I was very proud this weekend to be a part of my school community going to an Edcamp together. Some of whom were there for the first time. Watching them see it all for the first time was truly amazing, not to mention the fact that the Long Island EdCamp was so well attended, way more so than the first few I went to myself.
The day to day minutia can really feel like drowning. This happened in the classroom too. Whether I questioned my practice or my assessment divergence from the system, I struggled and I think now that the challenges are becoming great as a leader, my inclination is to look back on my days in the classroom with great joy. It hasn't been until now that I could comfortably say that I was good at what I did, so maybe that is true of this too.
Every teacher wants his/her students to be successful and chances are, each teacher is doing so much already with the information he or she has to make that happen. As team leaders, we want to help our teachers leverage the information they have to create the most targeted and effective instruction possible, not just to do better on tests, but to be better learners throughout their lives.
Something that I'm coming to realize is that every day won't be a super productive day to enjoy. Some days just getting through and getting something done is enough. Then not judging myself too harshly for the challenge. This can be an obstacle as it rubs against my perfectionism issues and that starts another whole line of questioning.
A new initiative is coming. This is nothing new. As a matter of fact, starting new initiatives is completely commonplace. As soon as an area of need is identified, we find a solution and start at it. It starts with an informational email and perhaps even a professional learning session or two. When we're lucky, we may get an instructional coach to help us implement it, but most of the time this is not the case. This always starts out good (at least most of the time), but the issue is when the next issue comes on the tails of ...
If indeed New York City does change the way students are admitted to elite schools, they are playing a zero sum game and the kids at the non-elite schools will continue to receive an inferior education. Perhaps someday they can follow my plan as they see innovative smaller districts roll it out. In the meantime, they will no doubt continue with their own version of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.