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

Monday, 31 July 2017

Lead like a Pirate

I have just finished reading Disobedient Teaching by Welby Ings, where the author talked about the transformative powers that teachers who think and act have, to now reading Lead Like A Prirate where the authors in the opening chapter talks about passion and how that makes schools come alive. Both books talk about people and how they are the most important thing, not National Standards and testing, it is people.  I have chosen Promt 1 to reflect on as it is about people, myself and everyone in our school.

Prompt #1 Choose one of the passions that Beth and Shelley share (pg 5/6) and reflect on it. Do you share the passion with them? Why? Why not?

'We are passionate about instilling the belief that every educator has the power and the ability to help students - even the students whom others have written off - accomplish amazing things!

As a Catholic Educator I believe that the students 'whom others have written off' are the ones we should be looking out for.  Catholic school were orginally set up for this purpose and we need to get back to this as we have a lot to offer these students.  
This can be the hard path to take, as from personal experience a lot of people question why you are allowing them into your school.  
My passion is around ensuring everyone gets a quality education and a great start to life.  I am paasionate about making sure these children have a great experience so they know that there is always some there for them and hopefully later on in life they see the Church as a caring safe place they can turn too.

So in summing up I do share the passion Beth and Shelley have and I believe we have to give the students who everyone else writes off a go. 

I will finish with this Maori proverb,

He aha te mea nui o te ao
What is the most important thing in the world?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
It is the people, it is the people, it is the people

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Learn Create Share

I have been reflecting on our curriculum and how 'Learn Create Share' fits in to this. 
I thought I had the Learn and Create part sorted but have been working on the Share part.  I believe the 'share' has been hard for me to grasp as I struggle to share my own learning on things like Blogger.  
I came to the conclusion this morning that maybe I had not got the 'Learn' part as my struggles came from me not learning new ways to share my learning.
As a principal I am supposed to lead the learning, so I need to do just that, as I see how powerful 'Learn Create Share' is for our leaners.
I have now come to the conclusion that Learn Create Share drives our curriculum not the other way around.

The sharing is the part that makes this so powerful, as you have used your new learning and shared this with everyone.