Take me to your leaders.

A quick message to our School Leaders as we emerge from the proven toughest part of the school year.  Our challenge is to emerge with the right habits intact and with the less productive ones challenged.  Are you ready to do what it takes to ensure strong staff morale through the remainder of 2017?  Or are you already stepping towards undermining it?  Here are three signs you’ve stepped down the wrong fork in the road:

1. Deny visual progress.
There’s a reason that prisoners mark the days on the wall while incarcerated – or at least they do in the movies I’ve seen!  Even for the most benign and uninspiring tasks, we like to see progress towards a goal.  In this case … freedom!  Think about how your people see progress and how successes are celebrated.  Ahead of a busy Semester two, how will your people know that the targets in your strategic plan have been passed?

 

2. Stay problem oriented.

We’re swift in schools to move on from completion or achievement towards solving the next problem.  While, progress matters – the continual negativity in our language associated with problem identification pays a reduced emphasis to the achievements.  With language being the ultimate revealer of culture, we need to ask if we want to lead a culture more focused on deficits than achievements.  I know which I’d rather.

3.  Forget the practice imperative.
Not all achievements are equal.  In teaching, the best advancements and are those connected to our deep purpose as educators.  While we can be tempted to reward large operational endeavours – such as camps, concerts, report writing, etc – we should be making a big deal of shifts in practice, improvements in student engagement and achievements in classroom climate.  Teaching is a highly personal craft and recognizing movement in the most personal aspect of it, our practice, is incredibly powerful.