Seek to understand, then to be understood. (Stephen Covey
A universal truth about people is that they want to be heard. They want to be listened to. They want to be part of decision-making. At the core of all teachers is creativity and a desire to do what’s best for students. These things take time to build and foster. Below are examples of how I try and blend all of this.
At Springbank Community High School, we the role of the Curriculum Leader has changed. We have specifically used the information contained in Schooling by Design to guide our educational leaders. I find that this document reflects what our teacher leaders should be aspiring to. I have provided a link to the document. It may be helpful to those who are looking for a prototype for how you can create more capacity for instructional leadership. For the upcoming year, we will be collapsing departments to engage them in more dialogue and collaboration. English and Social Studies will change to be Humanities. For the 2013-2014 school year, the group will explore alternative forms of leadership as well as curricular connections and opportunities to collaborate on cross curricular projects.
Big Idea: To continue to move staff to “What’s next?”
The meeting invitation and questions are available for viewing: Annual Individual Meetings 2012-2013
Mentoring the Leader
I once had the honor of listening to the Dali Lama live at the Saddledome. He spoke for about an hour and then he left time for people to ask him questions. One of the questions went something like this;
I am about to make an important decision in my life. This decision is causing me stress and I have been having sleepless nights because of it. I was wondering about how you make decisions. How do you begin to sift through all of the “stuff”?
The Dali Lama replied with this:
I never make an important decision without consulting 5 voices.
It was brilliant. We so often, as leaders, make decisions in isolation. We are often called upon to be the bottom line, we often feel we need to be strong and brave. But how can we know all the answers?
Do you believe that all leaders should have a mentor? I do. I think it is imperative that we provide mentorship AND be mentored. After all, how do you grow as a leader? We cannot know everything. I have several mentors, however, I have one primary person who assists me in my thinking around next steps. Why do I place this here? I think that one of THE most important components to the role is fostering effective relationships with a mentor or a group of mentors.
(Chinese Symbol, “To Listen”, from Google Images)