A few weeks ago, I geared up to do my typical end of the year survey. I was hoping to find a great innovative survey, so I turned to my PLN. Well, what happened next was better than I could have expected. Two members of my PLN (who just so happen to work in the same school district as me) had a suggestion. Scott Morrison said #friendsdontletfriendsgiveworksheets! After reading that I thought…“I hate it when he's right!” and I started to think about ways to gather information about my leadership without reducing it to a “worksheet”. Luckily, my colleague, Brent Wise came to my rescue with a simple, yet powerful idea--
10 minute meetings!
He suggested that I ask three questions:
What did I do well?
What did I fall short on?
What do you need from me next year?
So, I jumped in and scheduled 10 minute meetings with my teachers. And, I learned so much about what teachers really want.
My goal the 2013-2014 school year had been to inspire teachers to take risks and to not be afraid to fail. After the meetings it was clear that my teachers had heard my message loud and clear and that they actually liked being pushed.
Today I spent some time organizing the comments that the teachers made during the meetings and I found an interesting trend about what the teachers in my building want. The comments fell into two distinct categories:
Inspiration and Communication
So, principals and school leaders, our job is easy! If you LOVE learning and risk taking and truly believe that the work you can do will change the world, then share that passion with your staff, invite them to join you on the journey.
Communicate your vision and inspire them to:
DO WHAT’S BEST FOR KIDS
TAKE A RISK
The rest will follow.
These responses fit into the INSPIRATION category (notice which list is longer):
you give people opportunities to try new things
you push people to do best w/o terrorizing us
you're forward thinking, building PLN, trying twitter
not be afraid to fail and think outside the box
you push us and don't let us become complacent --giving us more opportunities
you pushed us to be in charge of our own PD
you're PD crazy and I like it-opens our eyes to opportunities
I like having people challenge me to not keep the status quo
never feels stale around here
you keep us ahead of the game and finding out about extra PD and books
you inspired me to challenge myself and make me be a better teacher
providing encouragement and opportunities to take risks and fail
you stressed that it's okay to fail and so I pushed myself
flexibility of trying new things and fail
coaching us as teachers
appreciate feedback about literacy
I'd rather work for principal that has a vision than who's a manager and I feel like we're going somewhere
there is a sense of urgency around here
trying new things and being open to new things and if they didn't go well try something else
you pushed us to try new things-tech/Global Read Aloud
I love celebrating failures
you're open to trying things and if they don't work you don't get bent out of shape
you're a visionary and when you get an idea you go for it
trust and freedom
love that you don't micromanage us and that you trust us
it's not a competition
you're good about pushing us and I now know I can attain the expectations!
I like the coaching
I like the blogs that you send out and the tips that you send
you're passionate and enthusiastic and motivating
you're a good instructional leader and supportive of ideas
your meetings have purpose and learning targets
you intimidate us...but in a good way!
exciting to get to use Twitter
These responses fit in the COMMUNICATION category:
you respond to needs and concerns right away
you get back to people quickly
you keep people on the same page
you're consistent with the staff
you're consistent with message and follow through
you communicate what happens with kid issues
discipline is handled well
you have teachers back
if things don't get communicated you find a way to do it
you advocate for the school
you don't hold grudges
you don't get feelings hurt easily
we trust you
you're easy to talk to and people are comfortable talking to you
you've got your crap together
you're radar is dead on
you listen to the teacher and what their feedback is
I hope my blog posts inspire risk taking and new ways of thinking. I hope to connect with other educators on our journey to always do what's best for children.