Monday, November 25, 2013

Give Thanks, Year Round

Give Thanks, Year Round.

Scrolling through the social media feeds last night, I began to notice all the posts in preparation for the upcoming holiday. Here, in the United States, we take one day out of the year to give specific thanks for 364 days of what we hope, is good fortune.

As an educator, I have the blessing to have a few additional days built into my schedule in which I get to load up the family in the oversized SUV and head to see relatives some 400 miles away. Upon arrival we will exchange hugs; hellos and the kids will begin a four-day free-for-all and make up for the 361 days (give or take) that they do not get to see each other throughout the year.

Connecting this back to my work as being a building administrator, I begin to go down my list of staff members, and even my students, and wonder what their four-days of Thanksgiving “break” will look like. My gut tells me, as does my knowledge of those that I am surrounded by for 183 days, that there will be travel plans, endless hugs and hellos, and some will travel more, and some less, to offer the same thanks that my family will exchange a few states south.

 I do worry about those that will not have the same good fortune this upcoming week. For that, our school is always looking for ways to give back to our community. Our staff and students participate in donation drivess for the food pantry. We work with the local churches and outreach programs and adopt families for the season. And, if nothing else, I seek out those students, and even those staff members, that may need and extra word of encouragement to ensure that they know I am thankful for their contribution to our school community.

So as you count down the 24 hours to your Thanksgiving break and think ahead to the 20 days until Winter Break, remember that one student, or one colleague, that you are thankful for. And remember, there are 365 days in a year that we can share just that, our thanks.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fueling Leadership


Teaching, guiding and supporting students growth in their academic journey is why I got into this business of education. Seeing teachers deliver quality instruction and do what is best for kids is one of many motivations to continue the work. In a world of ever evolving requirements placed on the shoulders of educators, I am mesmerized by the dedication that our teachers have during this transition in academia. Furthermore, I am in awe of the leadership I see in the school buildings by my colleagues, the building administrators and their staff's.

The role of the teacher has changed. What we ask of our teachers any given year is simply amazing. They are handed a class schedule, a roster of students and simply told, teach. And, if you are fortunate enough, they do it with passion, perseverance and a level of . They teach knowing that in a little over 180 school days there jobs will be critiqued by the performance of their students on a test they had very little to do with creating.  

They change their content, they change their delivery based on research of best practices and they evolve into the teachers their students need them to be. Teachers educate themselves while they educate their students. They learn about implementing technology into instruction, the discuss grading practices and assessments and they meet and collaborate to be better.

The role of the administrator has changed. They too have the responsibility to bring best practices to the forefront of every classroom and provide every teacher with the resources they need to be successful. With the implementation of new evaluation tools, ongoing walkthroughs, district initiatives, federal mandates and specific building needs, Instructional Leaders are pulled in more directions than ever before. 

Both continue to lead by example.  Teachers continue to teach with passion and leaders continue to lead by inspiring their school community. Neither rests. 

As you think through your work, simply ask, do you lead by example? And, how do you continue to fuel leadership

As I connect with fellow educators within my district and through my Professional Learning Network I am often reminded of how we are always in the forefront of education. The decisions we make do matter and the example we set is measured, whether intended or not.