Although not new to blogging–I’ve had a personal blog for years–I have never really kept a written record of my leadership reflections, save in reports written to satisfy my SO. Having said that, I love to write my reflections in other areas of my life, so while this is a new blog and in some ways a new beginning, it’s also a logical continuation of my personal writing and blogging.
My current leadership role at Gr 7-12 Summer School and also as the Principal of elementary Summer Learning Programs funded by CODE, have highlighted some new, interesting leadership opportunities. As I walk through the classrooms of Gr 7-12 teachers, I’m struck by how instruction in many rooms is vastly different than that of the primary school of which I am principal during the regular school year. I wonder how in my limited time at summer school, can I have a positive impact on instructional practices? “Sage on the Stage” continues to be the primary mode of instruction, with little opportunity for accountable talk and learning from peers. It’s almost as if teachers are worried about a mutiny if they loosen the reins even slightly. Ironically, the students in most of the courses offered are the very students who largely benefit from opportunities to share ideas, consolidate their learning through the work of others, and who benefit from alternative ways to demonstrate their knowledge.
Teachers are quite amazed when I pull students who are clearly struggling and sit one on one with them, and walk through the work, reading or scribing when necessary. In primary grades (and junior in many cases) this is just a way of doing–secondary teachers seem to see it as revolutionary, or at worst that the student is not working independently and therefore has not mastered the material. It supports my viewpoint that educator could benefit from some time in early primary, and see how we do it with our littlest people. I’m also being made quite aware that my personal math strengths top out at about Gr 7 🙂
It has been an incredible opportunity for growth for me, and I’ve learned a great deal already this summer. I think this opportunity is making me a better, more reflective leader. And Smoking Area beat cop!