Sunday, September 30, 2007

Tall Poppy Syndrome

Educational Leadership is tackling the role of Teacher Leaders this month and and article by Charlotte Danielson called The Many Faces of Leadership discussed how school culture can support teachers by eliminating the "tall poppy syndrome."
It's not only administrators who, on occasion stand in the way of teacher leaders. sometimes the teachers themselves resist taking on leadership roles, or make it difficult for their colleagues to do so. In Australia, this is called the tall poppy syndrome-those who stick their heads up risk being cut down to size. The phenomenon might take the form of teachers' reluctance to announce to their colleagues that they have been recognized by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. To counteract this syndrome, the school administrator needs to create a culture that honors teachers who step outside their traditional roles and take on leadership projects.

We have seen several teacher emerge as leaders at Halecrest and, despite their real fears of getting cut down, they are courageously stepping forward and influencing their colleagues in a variety of settings. The big winners are the students who benefit from improved practice on a wider scale because of the leadership of teachers among teachers. Keep fighting the fight my friends and don't sweat the small stuff.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Long Live the Amoeba

This past week our Instructional Leadership Team was enjoying some outstanding staff development working on our collaborative culture, when we were grilled by the facilitator who finally described our school as amoeba-like, mostly because we are resistant to the linear, one focus for all, approach that is espoused by our district because of their work with Focus on Results. While our facilitator is a little concerned that we are like an amoeba because we are not following a clearly defined path. My reaction is that I kind of like the amoeba tag, because at least it's a living organism. We are actually moving forward on several different fronts at once, and there certainly is the real risk, that we won't become excellent at any of them if we continue down this path. However, after reflecting on this the past couple days, I think we are acting in a way that is consistent with a learning community. We are working on a consistent literacy assessment calendar, processes for analyzing data, the gradual release of responsibility instructional model, and reading instruction. You tell me, which one should we put off until tomorrow?

Monday, September 03, 2007

The Fall

I don't know what the research says about year round school, because I really don't care. There is only one day of the year to start school and that is the day after Labor Day! Those poor fools who started in July are all messed up.

The first day of school is tomorrow and I can't wait. Eager little kids in their new clothes and school tools will be flocking to our doors while parents drop them off with either a sigh of relief (Grades 1-6) or a tear or two (Kindergarten). Though there are a few kids who are nervous and anxious about the new year, most of the kids I meet are excited and enthusiastic. Their enthusiasm is only matched by their teachers, those amazing individuals who spend their life (literally) coming up with new ways to motivate, educate, train, and inspire little minds.

Wherever you are starting the new school year I wish you a hearty Happy New Year! Before you know it we'll be hosting a Fall Festival and counting down the days to the Holiday Season.

Best wishes as you create memorable learning experiences for every child.