Thursday, 21 September 2017

Lead Like a Pirate - Harness the power of teams

Harness the power of teams
Prompt #1Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others. John MaxwellReflect on this quote.

When we look at some of the greatest sports teams in the world, they are the teams that are empowered to help in the decisions for the teams and the captains have the ability to make on field decisions that have the backing of their coaches.  The first few years I coached football teams I made all the decisions on and off the field.  After looking at some of the best coaches in the world I tried empowering the team to make decisions and from this we grew as team and had more success on the field.

These lessons I have taken in to my principal's role in an effort to empower everyone.  Shelley's reflection on page 86, 'You have been at this school for a lot longer than I have. You know your colleagues, the students, the community better than I do.' back up my own thoughts the way I try and do things.  As a principal I have a great resources of knowledge about the school community in all my staff and if empower these people to make decisions it can only benefit the school.  By empowering others I also ensure the areas I do not have strength in, an example of this for me is the junior area, runs smoothly.  I trust my AP to make decisions for the junior school as she has the experience and knows this area of the school.  I have learnt a lot about the junior area of the school since been a principal but still have not have the experience of day to day teaching to be able to know what is best for these children.
One of my favourite acronyms is T.E.A.M.S, Together Everyone Achieves Mores Success.  I think this fits in really well with empowering others as they are a huge part of the team that has a common goal to teach our children.

Been the principal of a smaller school can have its own challenges with this especially if there are a few people who want you to be like a 'traditional leader' and make all the decision for them to follow. This is the challenge we have to work on to ensure we are all on the same team.  

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Lead lIke a Pirate - Leadership Treasure

“If a man does not know to which port he is steering, no wind is favourable to him”. Seneca, Epistle from LeadLAP pg 76
What is the most important work that you are focused on right now as a school team to improve student outcomes?  Is your staff aware of this? Would their answer be the same as yours?

If I am honest I would say that not all the staff would answer the same as me.  I can see how important it is to have everyone paddling the waka in the same direction.  I have been focusing on the teachers and teachers aides but had not put the same energy into the rest of the staff when looking at our vision and mission. After reading this chapter I see how important it is to have everyone paddling in the same direction and how important it is for me to lead this and ensure everyone is focused on improving the outcomes for our students.
This book is really helping me to focus my energy into the right places and to create a school where everyone is paddling the waka in the same direction.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Lead Like a Pirate - Enthusiasm

"Pirate leaders know that they have to bring energy and excitement to each day, no matter what” (LeadLAP pg 69)
How do you ‘fake it until you make it? What strategies do you use that enable you to make a positive choice about your own attitude?
This was a great chapter to read last week as we had a lot of sickness going around the school and everyone including myself was feeling rather flat.  As I read this chapter I realised that this was really the week that I needed to fake it till I made it, (to the weekend). 
I decided I need to get out there and spend some time in the classroom to re-energise and get back to being with the children.  When I am flat it is the office work that can keep me down, being with the children and watching them learn and be enthusiastic about what they are doing gives me the boost I need.  I find walking around the school and surrounding myself with positive people refocuses me and then this allows me to put that positive face on myself.

I also look around me and think about how blessed I am to have what I have and that always helps me to 'make it till I fake it.'

Monday, 28 August 2017

Lead Like a PIRATE - Transformation

Prompt #3
Planning ahead

Burgess shares a document where she has gathered ideas about how to transform the first day back at school. As you read this chapter what practices came to mind that you would perhaps like to do differently. Share your thoughts on how you might go about this.

This chapter made me think about what as a school do we do to excite the children on their first day back and how do I get the staff motivate for the new year.  
I asked myself, what are we going to do to get our children excited about coming back to school what are we going to do to ensure this is the best year ever for every child.
I want to get away from the traditional start to the school year the students come in and go to their classroom and when the bell goes they start the year off.  I want to make this exciting for them, I want them to feel that this is a great place to be, I want them to feel like they belong and that we see them as special and I want them excited to be learning.
How do I do this?  How do I get the staff on board?
At our next staff meeting we are going to focus on coming up with ideas to make 2018 the best year ever for our children.
I will keep you posted on what we come up with.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Lead Like a Pirate - Ask and Analyze

Prompt #3
One of the most important things that we should do as leaders is challenge the status quo. What questions do you use to do this when working with your teams?

This question really got me thinking and reflecting on what I do to challenge the status quo, about is it necessary to challenge it and what questions I ask to see if it is working. 
It is necessary to challenge the status quo, but only if it is needed, not just for the sake of doing it.
I believe that I am only a caretaker of the school for the time I am here so when challenging the status quo, I always ask myself, is what I am doing sustainable and beneficial for everyone, today and tomorrow?  I want to ensure that the school is moving forward and what I am doing will help with that journey.
When working with my team I ask questions or give them an idea to reflect on.  The main two questions I ask is "how is this going to impact our students and their learning?" "Is what we are doing beneficial to everyone?" If the answer is 'yes' then it is worth looking. 
At present with some of the changes that we have made I measure how successful they are on student attendance and how engaged they are when I walk around the school.  If attendance has gone up I know the changes are making a difference.  If children are engaged and excited about what they are learning again I know that the changes are making a difference.  
The next step for me is to now look at the data around children's learning and seeing how some of the changes have impacted on this.
I go back to my first post where I talked about how I am passionate about the students and ensuring everyone has a good education.  If children are attending and are engaged and excited about their learning, then they will be getting the best education we can give them, that is why I have started at this point and now will be looking more closely at the data.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Lead Like a PIRATE - Rapport

Earning Trust as a Leader
"As a leader, every action you take (or don't take), every interaction you have, every decision you make or leave unmade, every expression on your face, the tone in your voice, or the body language you convey - everything about you - either earns or erodes trust". 
How do you earn that much needed trust from your staff and school community?

I chose to reflect on this prompt as it is one I believe that it is one of the hardest things we have to do as a principal, be on show 24/7, as everything we do either earns or erodes the trust we have built up with our community.
I have been reflecting on how important it is to build that trust and how it affects the whole 'tone' of the school.  If we get it right everything runs smoothly, if we don't and things aren't running as smoothly as they should, we still have to smile through it, sometimes with knives in our backs.
I try and build the trust in my school by always being available and ensuring I am an 'active listener'.  I follow up when I say I will do something and try and ensure that my expression, tone and body language is positive.  This is not always easy and this is why I believe it is one of the hardest parts of the job as there are some days when you have so much negativity around you that you don't feel upbeat and positive.  On those days I go for a walk around the school and see the children and look at the great work they are doing and I remind myself that I am here for the children and I need to stay positive for them, this always bring me back and refocuses me. 
I make sure that everyone knows that it is a team effort, I acknowledge the team via our newsletter, on Facebook, with notes and on the odd occasion I have shouted the team coffee to acknowledge the great work they do. 
Sometimes it is the small things we do that makes the difference and as they say a ‘smile it’s contagious’


Monday, 7 August 2017

Lead Like A Pirate - Week 2

Prompt #2
Pick one task that takes up an inordinate amount of your time. Apply this LEAD acronym and reflect on how you can change this.

Leverage Systems - the systems we create have to make sure we focus back on our core business, the children.  We were spending a lot of time doing assessments and evaluating the results.  I challenged the staff to look at all our assessments and tell me the ones that were making a difference to the children.  From this we were able to cut our assessment schedule in half.
Evaluate the Impact - the impact has been now teachers now have more time and can really focus in on the children and looking at their strengths.
Activate a Team - it was easy to activate the team around this as they felt they were assessing for the sake of it and it had no real value.  

Delete, Delete, Delete - by deleting a lot of assessment it has had the benefit of reducing the time I was spending looking at this assessment and ensuring the staff had followed our assessment schedule.

I now need to look at other things we do in the school and apply LEAD to them