Tag Archives: SLT

Creating a Team

2 Dec

6033261

Relational trust is so important in a team. Simply this does not occur straight away. People need time to find their role. This means that when there’s the inevitable conflict, it’s managed. People know each other. They listen to each other. There are agreements about how they treat each other and engage with each other, and member monitor these agreements. There’s also someone such as a facilitator who ensures that this is a safe space. Furthermore, in order for there to be trust, within a strong team there is equitable participation among members and shared decision-making.

While there is trust in a good team, there’s healthy conflict. This is inevitable and essential if groups are learning together and embark on some kind of project together. The team needs to disagree about ideas, there’s constructive dialogue and dissent, courageous conversations and thinking is pushed.

A good team creates a space for learning. In schools there are many reasons why those of us working in schools might gather in a team — but I believe that all of those reasons should contain opportunities for learning with and from each other. We talk about our students being lifelong learners and being collaborative. We ask our students to expose the key competencies. Do we in teams? So in an effective team, learning happens within a safe context. We can make mistakes, take risks, and ask every single question we want just like our students.

Advertisements

My Team

1 Dec

download

This week I wanted to reflect on our senior leadership team. They have played an important role in my development and these are some of the key ways that I have benefitted from their service.

1. Confidence – Each mentor has helped me to make sense of difficult and complex situations and offered advice that has provided me with confidence going into new situations. They have provided frameworks for decision making, routines for organisation and procedures for continually developing in leadership skills.

2. Humility – We all make mistakes and it was interesting to hear about how each mentor learnt from their failures. It spoke volumes of their character and convictions and has reminded me of the great importance that humility plays in leadership.

3. Courage – They have all encouraged me to reach for the stars, and this has made a huge difference to my outlook. They have encouraged me to have the difficult decisions, to get alongside team members and to not give up.

They have made me a better person. A better educator. A better man.

SLT as Teacher

3 Oct

giphy

I love being a teacher.  When I became a Deputy Principal was very worried that I would lose touch of what it was like to be a teacher.  I heard stories of SLT who had become disconnected from what really happens in the classroom, and I was determined that was not going to be me.  The first two years of being a SLT I walked through classes as much as possible and got to know the kids.  I still taught two classes as I do today and took tutorials. I wanted to stay connected and by walking through classes and getting to know kids I felt a certain level of being connected but not as much as I wanted.

Teachers would ask if I ever missed a full load of teaching and I would tell them I really did; I missed it a lot.  But I recognize now that I have many classrooms. The staff-room and the assembly hall.

I learned many valuable lessons from teaching the classes.  These are just a few:

-Teaching classes shows others that you are willing to take risks

-You gain a better appreciation for what teachers do on a daily basis

-You gain a better understanding of what teachers and students need which will help when decisions need to be made

-You can try some of the strategies that you have learned from observing other teachers

Leading with Purpose

8 Sep

photo 2

Some thoughts this week on being a leader in schools:

  1. Lead with purpose.

Too often, school leaders find themselves leading on automatic pilot, following old habits and modes of thinking, which trigger automated and unconscious responses. But when things get hard, you need to be able to have a reasoned, rational response — and that can only happen when you press pause and allow yourself to respond from a place of greater alignment and authenticity.

  1. Understand how your thoughts impact your emotions and behaviours. 

Our thoughts create our reality, but we seldom realise it. Too caught up in the busyness of life and Headship, you may have little time to realise that the thought you woke up with this morning impacted your behaviours and emotions throughout the day. If you can master your mind and your thought processes, you’ll experience greater mental clarity, self-awareness, and a belief in your ability to take control of your circumstances.

  1. Take care of your physical health.

Over the last five years I have pick up the training bug. My body does feel a little sore some mornings but I know it has contributed to my success. It’s easy to live in your head, but there’s no getting away from your body, so you need to consciously take care of it. This is closely tied to your emotional health too, since emotions that aren’t processed get stored in the body.

What are you doing to look after yourself as a long term leader?

 

Support Systems

28 Jul

download

On a cold Friday afternoon in term 3 it’s easy to lose sight of why you wanted to get into school leadership to begin with, but my faith or vocation is the anchor that will keep me going when times get tough. If it’s been a while since you thought about your anchor, then make it a priority this week to set aside some time and think it through again. What are your values? What gives you energy and joy? Why did you want to do this job to begin with?

Once you’ve done that, you can then take stock of where you are now and where there may be some gaps between the reality and your big why. How can you bridge those gaps?

You need to make sure that you have some good emotional and mental support, and I’m not talking about other school leaders. While it’s great to have industry friends, what so often tends to happen is that school leaders transition from comforting each other into sharing war stories. When this happens the conversations place a drain on your emotions and you only end up feeling even more battle weary. Having a neutral source of support outside your immediate circle is so important. Conversations with a professional outside of your context can enable you to gain new insights and see your problems from a different perspective. Rather than drain you, these conversations help to fill up your emotional wells so that you are able to approach the demands of your job with renewed energy and vigour. Let me know about your anchor. Would love to hear from you. 

Barriers to Innovation

23 Jun

112afe8

It’s amazing to me how many fantastic, game-changing tools are blocked on some school networks. I’m not saying we should remove all filters – they do help to prevent us from accidentally stumbling onto things we don’t want to see and can’t unsee. But in 2017, our filters do almost nothing to prevent students from intentionally accessing inappropriate material. Blocking content is ineffectual for four reasons: (1) Most students have smartphones with a direct connection to the internet. (2) Most students have unfiltered internet at home. (3) Any student who walks home through the city centre has unfiltered access to the internet. (4) Students know about VPN services which bypasses our filters.

Over-strict filters just thwart our best teachers’ efforts to make learning more meaningful. Our failed attempts to keep a few miscreant students from doing the wrong thing just hampers the majority of students who want to use the internet for the right thing.

Inturn our attempts at innovation are being imped that we are making hard for those teachers who have outrageous ideas. The are being boxed in by logistics. As a SLT we must create the space.

Often, as teachers gain the authority to influence and effect change in a school, their openness to change diminishes. Teachers enter the teaching profession wide-eyed and keen to try lots of different things and experiment with new pedagogies. They don’t have much power though because they are seen as “green” by older, wiser, more seasoned teachers who hold the decision-making power. I’ve seen young teachers silenced, gossiped about and even bullied because more experienced teachers took offence at these young, upstarts thinking they know a better way to do things. Eventually these new teachers learn to tone it down and conform to ‘the way things are done around here’. The most effective school leaders I have seen, identify innovators (irrespective of their seniority or experience) and invest them with the ability to influence.

In our inquiry we must create space and cut down barriers if we are to keep students at the centre.

Being SLT in Term One

11 Apr

img_3155

“Good relations between teachers and their colleagues and between teachers and their students can mitigate the negative effects of challenging classrooms…”

 In March 2015 the OECD released a report from the International Summit on the Teaching Profession: Schools for 21st Century Learners (2015) by Andreas Schleicher. It identified some good news, and some not-so-good news:

The good news: The most successful education systems are those in countries whose society values the teaching profession.

The not-so-good news: Fewer than one in three teachers believe that teaching is a valued profession in society.

On my ongoing development there are some key areas that I have been working on in my leadership in SLT in 2017.

  1. Distributed leadership, provides opportunities to participate in decision making at school.
  2. Positive interpersonal relationships between teachers and their colleagues and teachers and their students
  3. Meaningful appraisal and feedback that recognises and celebrates teachers’ strengths while simultaneously challenging teachers to address weaknesses in their pedagogical practices.
  4. Provide a culture of collaboration among teachers through:
    • jointly teaching the same class
    • observing and providing feedback on other teachers
    • engaging in different classes and age groups
    • professional learning

“The strongest association with teachers’ job satisfaction appears to be participating in collaborative professional learning activities five times a year or more.”

  1. Quality professional development. A focus on the three components of self-efficacy – classroom management, instruction and student engagement. Learner agency has been a common term for me this year. 

Authentic Leadership Message

10 Feb

img_0183

I thought it might be timely this week as my staff and students settled into classes to reflect on my own leadership. When most people think of leading they tend to think of leading people “below” themselves even though servant leadership is not new. That is a very dangerous way to think because it’s hard to think of people “below” you without also thinking you’re somehow “above” the people you lead.

It’s not even your title or position that makes you a leader. Your thinking and your actions make you a leader. Even more than that, it’s your people that make you a leader because no matter what you think or do, if no one is following then you’re not leading.

The secret to being an Authentic Servant Leader is to never think for a moment that because someone is below you on an organizational chart that they are somehow below you in life.

I was reflecting with my daughter this week that people are where they are in their lives for a lot of reasons. Some had more luck than others, some made more luck than others. Some maybe were born with more advantages, some perhaps married into additional advantages. Our lot in life changes, sometimes because of what we did, sometimes because of what we didn’t do and sometimes it changes for no apparent reason.

The point is we are really pretty much all the same and the moment we start thinking we are born for greatness is the very moment we begin to lose the empathy and compassion required to actually be an Authentic Servant Leader.

I suppose it comes back to my own beliefs and faith. We are all gifts from God. When we understand that simple fact then and only then do we have the opportunity to be an authentic leader.

 

Some Questions

21 Nov

download (1)

These are some important things as leaders we need to ask:

Question #1: What are you reading?

When SLT asks this question, whether to kids or staff, he or she is reinforcing the message that we are all readers. Books are a school’s oxygen, and the more we read and share words, the healthier our school communities are. If reading is not yet a top priority in the school, this question can spark an important conversation and can lead to tangible next steps, like a staff book club or school-wide reading time.

Question #2: I’ve been thinking about _____. What do you think?

Leaders cannot do it alone, nor should they pretend that they can. They need to ask for help and input. Another way to say this is, “I’d appreciate your advice.” Being someone who asks for advice — rather than being the all-knowing leader — shows that a principal is a learner and that he or she values the perspectives and opinions of coworkers. The more varied the roles and positions of the people whose advice is being sought, the better. Consider these two examples:

When the SLT asks a cafeteria staff member, “I’ve been thinking about how to improve the flow of kids as they enter the kitchen to get their food. What do you think?”

The SLT  asks a teacher, “I’ve been thinking about how to make sure that we’re getting kids moving without sacrificing learning time. What do you think?”

Question #3: If you were me, what would you change?

This is a variation of the above, but it’s more open-ended. The intention is allowing students and staff to speak freely about that which is most important to them. This is a great lunch-duty question. Sit down with kids in small groups and challenge them with this: “If you were the principal, what would you change in our school?” At first, you will likely hear responses about longer weekends and less homework, but the more you ask, the more you will hear things like, “Why don’t we have a girls’ volleyball team?” and “If I were principal, I would make sure that teachers didn’t yell at kids.” You’ll learn a lot from this question, so only ask it if and when you are truly ready to listen.

While most SLT don’t promote talking in the hallway, it’s also true that the best ones treasure open dialogue and communication. When they ask the right questions and heed the old saying about why we have two ears and one mouth, principals are elevating the conversation — and reminding everyone in their school whose voices matter the most.

Don’t get me wrong the hallway is not the place for open conversation but it is a place to get the conversation started.

Secondment Reflection

1 Jul

In my secondment it has been a privilege to explore and solve problems with teams. The chance to see how a high performing team operates, and what characterises them, was another key learning development for me this year. I got the opportunity to see how this team was shaped by strategic thinking and planning, long-term plans, conviction that your plan will do the job and get the best results, constant checking of the data, digging for the detail and the stories behind it, a focus on excellence rather than initiatives, a daily togetherness and opportunity to talk about operational matters, weekly meetings which were purposeful, focused and always about how to get the best for our students. Yes the best teams have students at the centre. And how about this, could we have grass roots teachers having input on strategic goals for the year.

Mytwosentences

Fitted Storytelling from Edward Roads

Danielle Anne Lynch

Music, Theology, Religion, Education

Learn To Love Food

Food Fun For Feeding Therapy and Picky Eaters

youreffectiveleadership

This WordPress.com site is the cat’s pajamas

NotesFromNina

Meaningful learning and effective teaching with a Finnish twist

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible

karen spencer

Let's talk about learning.

Education in the Age of Globalization

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible

Teaching & E-Learning

Learning in Today's World

A View from the Middle

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible

Powerful Learning: It's a Digital Thing

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible

Search Msdn

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible

Artichoke

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible

Mike's Blog

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible

Back2skool

Technology lessons from the classroom...

Welcome to the Frontpage

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible

Mark's Learning Log

Director of Learning Inquiries Pty Ltd an experienced educator

Mal Lee

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible

where the mountain meets the surf, anything is possible