Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I feel like a first year teacher again!

Like me, my wife is a teacher. Tonight she said something that really made me think. She took a transfer to a new school this fall; a school with very exciting things happening. Her new school is a freshly re-tooled science and technology focused school, and on top of that, changed from a middle school to a newly minted kindergarten - eighth grade school. Suffice to say there is a very positive buzz surrounding these changes, and the staff are working very hard to build a new culture and put the pieces together.

Amidst all the change in her new school environment, and as she was preparing for her day tomorrow, my wife said "I feel like a first year teacher again!" ...what an awesome statement! If you are an experienced teacher and you feel like this, good on you because it means you are taking risks, trying new things and moving your practice into anxiety inducing realms, but in a good way. Not to state the obvious, but learning doesn't stand still, and neither should we as teachers. If you feel a little uneasy about what you're doing this year, I'm proud of you because you're not standing still; you're moving your teaching and learning practice forward and your students will be the benefactors of the effort.

Congratulations.

Effective Leadership- Got Humility?

Effective leadership is about people- always. Without the faith of your followers, a leader you are not.
If you fail to honor your people,
They will fail to honor you;
It is said of a good leader that
When the work is done, the aim fulfilled,

The people will say, "We did this ourselves.

Lao Tzu, , 604-531 B. C., Founder of Taoism, Tao Te Ching

I can't think of a simpler concept in leadership, or one that would be considered more practical and authentic. In the measured contexts of our everyday lives as leaders, all teachers, whether they like it or not, are called upon to serve; primarily our students, but also each other, our student's parents and the learning community we are an integral part of. In humbly putting the needs of others ahead of our own as leaders, we honor them. The appreciation we receive as a result pays dividends as our followers are empowered to feel strong and supported in their important work. I strive as a leader to let good people do their work with my full endorsement, intervening only when they seek my assistance.

A former superintendent in my district said once that as a leader, you stand in front when things need defending and in back when they need celebrating... servant leadership in a nutshell. Servant leadership requires a good dose of humility to be effective, and the humility of great leaders resonates with people and inspires them to also be humble and supportive in their own leadership; to do whatever it takes to push others upward and hold them in high regard... to choose to see what's right with people.

Ben and Rosamund-Beth Zander refer to it as "giving people an A" in their book, "The Art of Possibility;" a game changer for me professionally and personally. The authors emphasize that, "giving an A is a fundamental, paradigmatic shift toward the realization that all is invented." Alas, all is invented. The lens we look through is ours alone, and it affects the way we see every other person, and every interaction we have with them. We don't even have to know what others perspectives are to initiate an open and collaborative exchange with them; we just have to know that they all have one, and most importantly, be willing to listen to it.

The humble leader thinks deeply about perspective and how it affects the equilibrium of interdependency critical to success within any functional relationship. We have to truly listen to our followers; to put aside our bias and personal perspectives to consider that there may be other ways, perhaps better ways to move our organizations forward productively and positively. The Zander's understand that when we give people an A we can be open to a perspective different from our own, For after all, it is only to a person to whom you have granted an A that you will truly listen, and it is in that rare instance when you have ears for another person that you can truly appreciate a fresh point of view.

Even the most cynical among us are susceptible to this approach. Ben Zander explains a paradoxical element to giving people an A when he says that "a cynic, after all, is a passionate person who does not want to be disappointed again." So let's not disappoint our people; let's give them all an A and strive, as the Zander's suggest, to speak to their passion, not their cynicism.

To a person, everyone of us has been shaped and formed by the variables of time and experience, and as a result we have our own personal reality tunnels; those perspectives that guide our judgments, our actions and our relationships. Humble leaders understand this, and even more importantly they understand that the private logic within all of us will affect the dynamics of every interpersonal relationship we are challenged by.
Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog

Labels

learning (49) teaching (45) education reform (29) authentic learning (24) students (23) effective teaching (18) school (18) EduKare (15) educational leadership (13) resiliency (13) creative teaching (11) education (11) educational change (11) perspective (11) 21st Century Learning (10) Glendale School (10) change (10) collaboration (10) school climate (10) school culture (10) support (10) creativity (9) assessment (8) caring (8) culture (8) leadership (8) teachers (8) hope (7) inquiry-based learning (7) learning circles (7) learning stories (7) professional development (7) student success (7) technology (7) technology integration (7) #edchat (6) at-risk kids (6) collaborative teaching (6) empathy (6) pre-service teachers (6) purpose (6) responsive teaching (6) #EduKare (5) Alberta Education (5) Sean Grainger (5) Twitter (5) at-risk (5) engaging (5) integrative thinking (5) mentor teachers (5) public schools (5) teach (5) teacher training (5) Bell Curve (4) beliefs (4) belonging (4) bullying (4) children (4) diversity (4) empathy reboot (4) high-stakes testing (4) learn (4) possibility (4) relationships (4) resilience (4) school leadership (4) student (4) LCU (3) action research (3) child development (3) choice (3) classroom (3) communication (3) community (3) counseling (3) debate (3) dreams (3) duty to care (3) ed reform (3) educators (3) failure (3) fun (3) growboys (3) inclusion (3) inquiry (3) interculturalism (3) kids (3) life-long learning (3) mindfulness (3) nemetics (3) pedagogy (3) professionalism (3) reflection (3) thinking differently (3) transformational leadership (3) understanding (3) #cpchat (2) #ecosys (2) #redcamp13 (2) Bloom's Taxonomy (2) Control (2) Google (2) Innovative Voices in Education- Engaging Diverse Communities (2) Moore's Law (2) PD (2) alternative teaching (2) audience (2) balance (2) behavior (2) behaviorism (2) best educational practice (2) blogging (2) boys (2) bully (2) bully prevention (2) challenge (2) change agent (2) character (2) circles (2) classroom management (2) commitment (2) competition (2) connecting with kids (2) creative (2) development (2) dialog (2) digital technology (2) disagreement (2) edcamp (2) edkare (2) education change (2) effective classrooms (2) etmooc (2) facts (2) feelings (2) formative assessment (2) future (2) goals (2) groupthink (2) growth (2) hope wheel (2) ideas (2) independent thinking (2) interdependence (2) journey (2) listening (2) mastery (2) mindful (2) morphic resonance (2) multiculturalism (2) new teachers (2) opinions (2) opportunity (2) passion (2) personal learning network (2) phenomenological (2) philosophy (2) project-based learning (2) question (2) resilient (2) resolution (2) responsibility (2) self-esteem (2) self-organized learning environments (2) servant leadership (2) share (2) social-media (2) special education (2) standardized tests (2) struggling schools (2) success (2) sympathy (2) teacher (2) teacher welfare (2) trust (2) unconditional love (2) unconference (2) university (2) values (2) vision (2) voice (2) words (2) #LCU (1) #ccunesco2014 (1) #nemetics (1) #speakchat (1) 40 Developmental Assets (1) ATLE 2010 (1) Africa (1) Black Swan (1) Brokenleg (1) Calgary Science School (1) Circle of Courage (1) ConnectED (1) Curate (1) Daniel Durant (1) Dry Island Buffalo Jump (1) FBA (1) Fouth Way (1) Geoffrey Canada (1) Grow Boys (1) Howard Gardner (1) Impact (1) Instructional leadership (1) John Dewey (1) Kathryn Schultz (1) Lao Tzu (1) MIT (1) Michael Josefowicz (1) Nunavut (1) Occam;s |Razor (1) PBL (1) PLN (1) Phoebe Prince (1) Piaget (1) Red Deer (1) SBL (1) SOLE (1) Search Institute (1) Second Way (1) Shankardass (1) TED (1) Tao Teh Ching (1) Vygotsky (1) Wangler (1) aboriginal (1) accountability (1) achievement (1) action (1) actions (1) adversity (1) anger (1) answer (1) applied behavior (1) applied research (1) apprenticeship (1) aptitude (1) aquaintances (1) at risk (1) athletics (1) authentic (1) autonomy (1) badges (1) being wrong (1) believing (1) benchmark (1) blended learning (1) blog (1) borders (1) brain research (1) budget (1) business (1) cdnedchat (1) chaos (1) character education (1) charity (1) child-development (1) clarity (1) collaborate (1) communciation (1) communicate (1) conference (1) confidence (1) conflict (1) connect (1) consciousness (1) conversation (1) cooperation (1) coordinated children's services (1) critical thinking (1) curiosity (1) curriculum (1) democracy (1) destiny (1) developmental (1) differentiated learning (1) differentiation (1) digital citizen (1) digital immigrant (1) diigo (1) dissonance (1) dyslexia (1) education innovation (1) effort (1) emotions (1) enabling (1) endogenous (1) engaged (1) engagement (1) equity (1) ethics (1) evaluation (1) excellence (1) fail (1) faith (1) fate (1) fear (1) feedback (1) feminine (1) finding voice (1) focus (1) friends (1) gender differences (1) gender identity (1) global education (1) goal setting (1) governing body (1) happy (1) hardware (1) healthy (1) heuristic (1) high school (1) higher education (1) homework (1) honesty (1) hop (1) humility (1) iconoclastic (1) imagery (1) imagination (1) improbable (1) inclusive (1) inclusive education (1) indigenous knowledge (1) innovation (1) inspiration (1) instinctual (1) interdependent (1) internalize (1) internship (1) interpersonal (1) intuitive (1) knowledge (1) lacrosse (1) leading (1) leaps of faith (1) learning circle (1) learning disabilities (1) learning disorders (1) learning from place (1) learning goals (1) learning spaces (1) learning story (1) learning styles (1) learning tools (1) lecture (1) library (1) lifelong-learning (1) limits (1) literacy (1) lobby (1) management (1) masculine (1) math (1) medicine wheel (1) men (1) mentorship (1) micro-blogging (1) mindfullness (1) mission (1) mistakes (1) morals (1) motivation (1) navigate (1) negative reinforcement (1) network (1) networking (1) new year resolution (1) objective (1) open education (1) open-source (1) operant conditioning (1) outcomes (1) overcome (1) pass (1) patience (1) polarity (1) positive (1) positive reinforcement (1) positivity (1) positve dissonance (1) postmodern (1) poverty (1) power point (1) practice (1) pride (1) private logic (1) productivity (1) professional organization (1) progression (1) questioning. Socrates (1) rally (1) rationalization (1) rdcrd (1) rdpsd (1) re-frame (1) re-tool (1) reality (1) receive (1) reclaim (1) redcamp15 (1) relative (1) relevance (1) research (1) rest (1) revolution (1) ritual (1) routine (1) scholar (1) scholarship (1) sciences (1) scrutiny (1) self-determination (1) self-help (1) significance (1) silence (1) simple (1) sincerity (1) skate park (1) skateboard (1) smile (1) socialize (1) society (1) software (1) solution-focused (1) speaking (1) sport (1) standards-based learning (1) stories (1) strangers (1) strengths (1) stress (1) student engagement (1) sustainability (1) synergy (1) taking risk (1) talking (1) tangibility (1) targets (1) teaching. learning (1) textbooks (1) thinking skills (1) thought (1) thoughts (1) trans-species (1) transference (1) tribes (1) unconditioned response (1) unconditioned stimulus (1) universal (1) urban gardening (1) urban schools (1) victim (1) visceral (1) wellness (1) wisdom (1) work (1) work week (1) worksheets (1) writing (1)