Time To Step Up

So I wasn’t going to write a blog post for Leadership Day 2010. The reason was because when I read the whole purpose behind it my thought was, “yeah that is not for me, why the heck would an administrator actually read or care about anything I would have to say.”  But I started thinking about my students.  School starts back in just a few days and I decided about a week ago my goal for my students this year is to teach them to be leaders, to believe they can make a difference, and mostly to share what they believe in to others.  So me thinking I’m not “good enough” or “influential enough” would be somewhat hypocritical.  So if only one person reads this, that is OK because I made my statement.

I see all the suggestions for the Leadership Blog and think the idea that keeps coming to mind is that fact that technology is a tool, just that.  Teachers need training on how to use that tool.  This year my school is splitting up and we are moving to a brand new school.  This place has every thing you could imagine. That means nothing if teachers are not aware how to use the new computers, IWBs, computer labs, science labs, etc.  It means nothing if these things are used for drilling and only research.  We have gained nothing when it comes to the change in the educational system.  We cannot use new tools to keep the old ways of teaching.  Its a new world.  Yes we can use the tools for research, but research for problem solving or for information to create something.

Teachers must be comfortable with these tools.  Telling them to drive to other side of town to take a PD class that is not required and could be intimidating is not ideal.  Bring it to them.  Let them practice in the labs available.  Have them practice in there classroom with a specialist or even a mentor to guide them.If you hand a teacher who teaches from worksheet a document camera and no ideas how to use it, it becomes a projector of worksheets.  Worksheets are crap, lets not project them into large crap.

Encourage teachers, even if they are taking baby steps, acknowledge the things they did do with their class and then encourage them to take it to the next level.  Never in my teaching career (in a public school, private school was very supportive) have I ever had an administrator tell me I did something great. Never told me I was doing something right. Never complimented my students on one of the MANY awesome things they created in my classroom. Two years ago I almost completely stopped using tech in my classroom because of that. Remember how you have to encourage your students, do the same for teachers, they need it.

I could go on and on for days.  No I’m not an expert nor would consider myself a leader, but I am in the classroom 180+ days a year and work with others who are as well.  Education is changing slowly but surely. Glad I am around to see leaders step up and mold these changes!

-a

6 thoughts on “Time To Step Up

  1. Dave Meister says:

    Good advice Amanda. I will really try this year to do a better job of letting my staff know about what they are doing right. Sometimes, as an administrator, I am guilty of focusing on eradicating the negative and neglect to say “great job” when I see something exemplary. Keep leading, you might not realize it, but your are lighting the way for others!

    Dave Meister
    (phsprincipal)

  2. Kevin Hodgson says:

    It is difficult to know who our audience is, and then, there is a principal responding to you — so it worked!
    I think the encouragement and support to take a chance is crucial, as is principals being there if things don’t go quite as expected.
    Thanks for posting
    Kevin

  3. Ryan Bretag says:

    Thanks for the reminder – I get so caught up in working from the big picture and transformative uses that I too often forget that for many teachers their small steps from my perspective are quite large steps. It is imperative that I remember the importance of celebrating these steps and encouraging next steps.

  4. Barbara McCormick says:

    Amanda,
    I appreciate your insights to what makes a good teacher an effective user of technology. As you enter your new building with all those gadgets we too will be entering a new age at our school where every individual student has a wireless netbook at their fingertips. The real question is will learning be different or will it continue to be more of the same? It all weighs on how we approach it.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Barb

  5. Howell Wright says:

    Amanda,
    Thank you for commenting. You are so right about how educators are like all people and need affirmation for a job well done. I have never met you, but your perception of the educational world is not a bleak picture, but one of hope. You are so on target with the importance of understanding that the digital tools are just that “tools for learning” and they are not a fix all for ailing schools. It will require a transformation of our current state of 19th and 20th century classrooms that continue to propogate with the same identical face from one generation to the next generation.
    I will take heart to your suggestion about PD that is realistic for teachers. This year we have moved a regular teacher to a position to teach other teachers how to use the tech tools and skills in the classroom. Additionally, we are hiring 2 of our students through the vocational co-op program to assist with this task also. Keep up the great thoughts and writing.
    Howell Wright, Rockdale ISD Superintendent

  6. ktenkely says:

    You are a leader whether you recognize it or not! Your points are so valid, teachers need to feel supported, they need to feel appreciated and they need for PD to be relevant and convenient. They need to remember that teachers have families and we like to spend time with our families, PD that is not convenient takes time away from our life outside of the classroom.

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