I have challenged myself and my staff to be ELITE this year, to question one another’s purpose, to reflect on the choices we make, to push…just a little farther than we might have pushed ourselves in year’s past.
One of the ways I’m pushing myself is by making sure I am having critical conversations with staff members. Critical conversations are the ones that, in the past, I may have talked myself out of having, the ones that I would think about and then decide to wait a while because things might change.
This year I’m not holding back, I’m engaging teachers in conversations about their practice, I’m questioning our decisions and I’m reflecting on the systems we have in place as a school. What I’m also keeping in mind, is that while reflecting is great, it is pointless without action. So, I’m forcing myself into action and in doing so my teachers are taking action, too. These conversations are pushing some of my staff members into an uncomfortable place with me.
Here is what I want my staff to know as we head into this “uncomfortable place”:
- I wouldn’t take you there if I didn’t have the utmost respect for you, for what you do and for what you’re capable of.
- I wouldn’t take you there if I didn’t think that you were ready to go there.
- I wouldn’t exert the time or effort that it takes to take you there if I didn’t love you-you're worth it.
As we all experience this discomfort, I ask that we think about how we respond in uncomfortable situations.
Do we STAND UP AND OWN IT or do we BLAME, COMPLAIN and DEFEND?
Take a moment to really think about this question. Let it sink in.
Do you STAND UP AND OWN IT or do you BLAME, COMPLAIN and DEFEND?
This week I had a really hard conversation with a teacher and guess what, she stood right up and owned it, big time. At the end of our conversation she said, “Thank you for this feedback, I want to get better, my students deserve it.”
Your students deserve it too.
Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, she followed the conversation up with an email explaining all of the changes she’d made and steps she’d taken in her professional growth in less than 24 hours.
Here is an excerpt from the email she sent me:
I did a lot of reflecting last night and changed some things for my lesson today. I looked over my DMA scores, pre-assessment data, and exit slips and regrouped my students for math groups… We took a gallery walk in the middle of the lesson because I saw so many great strategies with the manipulatives! My kids were able to explain their thinking better and I was able to question them based on the strategies I saw them using…I am so excited to make these wonderful changes to impact my students learning and my own professional growth!
This is the definition of STAND UP AND OWN IT.
Critical conversations and tough but they are worth it. I believe my staff can STAND UP AND OWN IT. I’ll be owning it, too. I have a lot of growing to do myself.
We’re in this together, we’re worth it.
_Here is your Staff Update for October 2, 2015.