Saturday, March 31, 2012

Reflective Leadership...

flickr image via flickrPrince

The principal is an accomplished teacher who practices quality leadership in the provision of opportunities for optimum learning and development of all students in the school.

My teaching career has led me in many unanticipated and diverse directions. The experiences I have had, and the lessons I have learned along this journey are the platform of my skill-set and knowledge as a professional teacher and educational leader. I believe that more often than not, the path chooses us.

I have taught at least one subject to kids from grades one through ten. I taught a first and second grade split class during my first year teaching at Tall Cree Indian Reserve in northern Alberta. From that jump-off point I continued my growth and development as a teacher for five years in grades three to six within two other Aboriginal communities. I moved to Red Deer and joined the Alternative School Programs in my seventh year of teaching. I worked with grades six to ten over the next eight years within two different segregated programs addressing severe student behavior. I completed my Masters Degree in Leadership (focus on school counseling,) during this period. I then took a position as a counselor for what turned out to be one year at the middle school level. At this point my direction shifted once again, and I was fortunate to become a school administrator at Mattie McCullough Elementary School.

With every teaching and administrative position I have held, I have assumed different formal and informal leadership roles designed to optimize learning and development opportunities for all students. Additionally, I have assumed leadership roles throughout my career putting me in a position to support the ongoing and purposeful professional development of my teaching colleagues and beyond as a conference speaker, workshop writer, blogger and author.

This reflection summarizes my teaching experiences, my personal professional growth and my perspective as a learner and teacher relative to the leadership dimensions contained within Alberta Education’s Principal Quality Practise Guideline. These are the elements that form the foundation of my practise as an educational leader. Over the course of my career I have formulated a set of personal beliefs that guide my practise. Many, if not all of these beliefs, permeate my life away from school in ubiquitous ways also. I will reference these as “I believe” statements where appropriate throughout this reflection.

Friday, March 30, 2012

If You're Having Fun...


flickr image via katerha

A couple of years ago my students and I came up with what we thought to be a really good description of the way learning should be.

Like most classrooms, we had every type of student... those really focused on their letter grade achievement; those really focused on the process of learning and not so concerned about their letter grade achievement and those who seemingly weren't that concerned about either. In self reflection, the kids noticed that those who were stressed about the test weren't having all that much fun in school. They also noticed that those who evidently weren't concerned about the process or their grade were having a lot of  fun, but perhaps not the right kind. When we spoke about those kids who seemed to really just enjoy the process of learning, the students noticed that these kids were striking a balance between school work as they called it, and having fun... knowing when to keep things light, but also when to get down to business.

In the process of our reflection we came up with this definition of purposeful and engaged learning in school.
If you're having fun and not learning, that's bad. If you're learning and not having fun, that would bad too, but if your having fun and learning, that's good.
Pretty simple I think.
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