I believe it was our former President, Bill Clinton, who famously said, “We can agree to disagree, but let’s not be disagreeable.” I have always resonated with the quote because I firmly believe it is true. I use it often when I am dealing with staff, parents and even students.
The next time you are in an argument, or a heated discussion and it seems to be headed nowhere try to use the quote. 99 times out of 100, you can turn an argument around and stay process centered.
Each day, no matter how crazy, insane, busy eventually ends… As a principal, the minute that the dust settles, becomes the opportunity for reflection. For instance, a few minutes ago, the last person left the office for the night. Peace and quiet enveloped the atmosphere. It was the first time all day that this office was quiet. Some leaders like to get right out when this happens. For me, I cherish these minutes and try to make the most of them. I usually take 5 or 10 minutes to reflect on the days events. This is also when I tend to blog. I whole hardheartedly believe that reflection is the key to improvement.
Here are 5 key strategies to make the most of when the dust settles:
- Enjoy it – You know it won’t last
- Recap the positive and negative aspects of the day
- Make a plan for the next day
- Write a journal (or blog) this will help your leadership
- Be sure to leave it at work
Let me take a selfie!
How do you get people excited about your school? Get some gear, put it on and walk around the school! As we prepare for our annual Olympic Day and Fun Day activities, we made sure to drum up excitement after 2 weeks of state testing. It was time that everyone got back to smiling, and to the real work of creating a world-class school!
This year we ordered visors as an attempt to keep our eyes shaded and school spirit flowing. Something as simple as a visor, new t-shirt or any other spirit wear can assist in developing a “brand” for your school. In order to sell them, I walked around the school and took selfies with the first to buy the visors…
Here are some of the pictures from the day
our adopted school dog, Rookie!
Our guidance counselor is so happy to be done with testing!
Just a few of the visors on display
Then, as we were separating the Olympic Day and Fun Day shirts, I got two volunteers to model the new gear. We walked around the school and they posed for pictures in the various events they will compete in on Friday! I took those pictures and a few minutes later I had them on the School Blog for all to see… This only took a few minutes, and using the technology available to everyone (smart phones and free blog sites) viola… Just a few visors, shirts, selfies and spirit ….What a great school!
As I plan for the summer, I always try to provide the staff with some resources… As educators, I feel that the summer is not only a great time to recharge the batteries, but also a time to learn. So what do you have planned for yourself? your staff? your students this summer?
Here are 10 ideas for this summer
1. Learn how to use Augmented Reality
2. Take the Digital Leadership Challenge
3. Read Digital Leadership by Eric Sheninger
4. Connect with an educator on Skype (or GHO) and write about the experience
5. Redesign your learning space
6. Take pictures of your vacation and make a travel blog for students
7. Subscribe to an educational podcast
8. Attend an edcamp or some other free professional development opportunity
9. Participate in a few twitter chats
10. Find a great children’s book to “deliver” to your students in the fall
Provide me with some ideas… I would love to add them to my resources page for the summer of 2014!
As I scanned the twitterverse today, I missed spending time with friends and tweeps at EdCamp Philly. I wasn’t able to attend because I had so much to catch up on. As I am sure you can understand, the life of an educator can get really busy, and this is a very busy time of year. For the past two days I have written about the changes at my school. Let’s just say I was extremely happy that I woke up this morning and it was Saturday. So, instead of attending the EdCamp in Philly, I played catch-up.
My day ended up being a productive catch up day! I worked out in the morning, cleaned the house, mowed the lawn, blogged, played soccer with my daughter, and took my son to Karate…. and I still have time to spare, time to relax. I know my kids have “movie night” planned tonight! What a great day playing catch up!
Change be draining both emotionally and physically! As I wrote in yesterday’s post, our school is embarking on a systemic change that is impacting every grade level, and about 70% of the staff in some form or fashion. Throughout the day I had meeting after meeting to discuss the proposed changes with everyone directly involved. Some of these meetings went well and some not so well but all were approached with the same information. It will certainly take time, and our dedicated staff will remain focused on the target… the students!
As I stated earlier, this process has been draining. I fell asleep at 8:30 PM last night. I just didn’t have anymore energy. I was tapped out. I am sure I was not the only once as I am cognizant of the change process for the staff. I believe, however, it is days like today that will actually make our school better! We will face this change together. We will be drained together, and renew together!
Eventually, everything changes. Nothing stays the same. Nothing. With that said, no one likes change… It is one of the most ironic dichotomies of life. In fact, I know why most principals do not want to enact systemic change… it is really hard! In the next few weeks, our elementary school will experience lots of changes… Teachers will be assigned to new grade levels, new classrooms, and new curricula. The changes are based on two notions… getting the people in the right seats on the bus (Collins, 2001), and addressing continuous improvement.
As I go through this process, I will ensure everyone that these changes are designed to improve the school, and our most precious customers… the students. I am also sure, as a reflective educator, that I will report out on how these changes are accepted (or not) and how our school benefits.
Change is neither good nor bad, it simply is Don Draper
Photo by Patti Banker
I’ve never met Mike Trout, I am not from Millville, and I have only been working here for the last 3 years. Yet, as I watched the build up to Mike Trout’s debut at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, I was proud to at least be associated with this city! I didn’t go to the game, but I knew a lot of people who did. I followed their tweets, instagram, and facebook posts about the event….. The event that over 4,000 residents of Millville attended…. all to support their home town hero!
As I watched on TV, the announcers continued to mention the never-before-seen support for an away player. They mentioned how the Millville Band played, the Mayor threw out the first pitch, and how the Millville Orange and Blue dominated! The next day when I talked to co-workers who attended they beamed as they told me their individual stories. Everyone was so happy and so proud be from the Holly City that also happens to be the home of two time MVP runner-up, and all around great guy Mike Trout.
This was such a unique experience, and it made me proud to work in Millville.
Recently, the Principalcast crew hosted ASCD Arias authors Bill Sterrett, Mark Barnes, and Michael Fisher. In the podcast, we learned so much about the Arias authors and their excellent books. Want to listen to the podcast? Check this out:
Books focused in the podcast
The 5 Minute Teacher by Mark Barnes
Digital Learning Strategies by Michael Fisher
Short on Time by Bill Sterrett
We have been experimenting with Augmented Reality at our school. It is obvious that this technology is in it’s infant stages, and it became more obvious after watching this video:
I don’t think we can even imagine how Augmented Reality is going to impact our schools, let alone society as a whole. I think it is important for our students to be on the forefront of this technology because in the foreseeable future it will be all around.
How do you see the impact of Augmented Reality impacting education? Society? Our civilization?