Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Coaching through results

How does the Principal serve as the instructional leader with a collection of teachers who are more diverse than any group of 6th graders could ever be? One thing that I think is most effective in helping each teacher grow is to remember the line from Jerry Maguire, "Show me the Results". Well, that's what he would have said if he were the Principal talking to his teachers. Here's how this works out in a school.

If you are a teacher who gets positive results (Every child grows at least one year's worth of growth or more in a year) then I will be your champion and cheerleader and would like to sit down with you to discuss the secrets of your success. Let's figure out what you do that works and hey, would you be willing to sit down with one other teacher and teach them a thing or two about a thing or two? Get these people out sharing the sunshine. Help them find the eager ones that want to learn something so they don't get discouraged by the Champions of Excuse.

If you are a teacher who believes that your way is the right way and, as one Board member from a previous district once was heard stating, "Research never proved anything". No problem! Ignore all the staff development that I've been shoving down your throat. Don't implement anything suggested by any one of those experts we've been reading, but "Show me the Results". That's right. You're not responsible for implementing the latest and greatest, you're just responsible for the positive results described above. So, put up or __________.

These are the two extreme types on our campus. There are all sorts of shades of variance that demand unique and thoughtful responses, but keeping everyone focused on results that everyone is pursuing helps the Principal decide where time and energy can be invested for the greatest result.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Why what we're doing today is not good enough

As the build up to the AFC championship was in full force this week (I've finally got over the Chargers sad ending), I read a quote from a player from the Patriots who said, "If we're not getting better, we're falling behind", or something to that effect. I think the truth behind that statement is applicable in any area of life. When we start skating through relationships, work, exercise, fill in the blank, we will start to lose ground. Achieving progress and growth requires effort just to maintain past improvement and even more effort to get even higher. That's one of the reasons why leading Halecrest can be a tricky proposition.

We are doing pretty well by most people's standards, however I think it has been said that the enemy of the great is the good. Also, we are just a few months of complacency away from falling back and finishing the year scratching our heads wondering what happened. Every student, every teacher, every employee, including this Principal, should be looking for ways to do things better tomorrow. Otherwise we all stop learning and we're like the person who could be sitting on that boat on the river. Without picking up a paddle and rowing, you're just going to float downstream with the current. Eventually that current might take you to a place like this one, which wouldn't be all that pretty an ending.