As district administrators walked into a recent meeting, the facilitator overheard several familiar comments, “I hope this ends early, being in district two nights in a row—I’m exhausted.” While another administrator was heard saying, “I can catch up on my emails during this meeting”. For the past 4 years, admin meetings were either non-existent or limited to communicating compliance issues and deadlines.
Our learning needs have always come last. As administrators we also need to refresh our skills and expose ourselves to new ways of teaching and learning. Setting schedules, changing rooms, sharing expectations, creating deadlines and peppering staffs with information that must be shared are the tasks that we complete on a daily basis.
What we don’t do is talk about teaching and learning. Nor do we explore research and theories. For example, the writing and implementing of Student Growth Objectives is a complex exercise; requiring deep understanding. It is just as complex for school leaders as it is for teachers. Without having a full understanding, communication becomes jumbled and confusing, causing teachers to be left to their own interpretations.
The first step to expanding our knowledge as school administrators is taking care of our own learning needs. We’re asking our teachers to employ new strategies, learn new programs; use social media in ways that enhance learning, but what about the needs of the administrators to use new programs, create collaborative environments, facilitate learning, provide meaning feedback based on the new research and theories.
Becoming more capable requires the development and nurturing of admin learning teams, encouraging people to share knowledge, process new information and build a strong collective understanding.
“In order to learn more and improve our practice, we have to dig deeper into what we do, what our kids need, and what we already know. We need to learn from each other” – Doug Lyons, Principal at Parker Middle School in Reading, Massachusetts
We must act now. Learning for all is not an add-on; it is a responsibility. LEADERS LEARN!
October 27, 2017