We are about to step into another big term, and I’m sure there will be an inordinate amount of work that you and your Leadership Team will attempt to get through. Firstly, there is going to be a need to support the social-emotional needs of your students after a challenging term 1, and there is the wellbeing of your colleagues. Combine that with our core business and what we love about this job…the importance of learning and teaching. Although that’s enough in itself, we can also expect administrative tasks, extra-curricula activities, meetings and a wide variety of school events. It’s often the ‘extras’ that can sometimes make the weeks go too quick, whilst on the other hand, they can drain your energy, drag out the week and make you feel like you haven’t managed to get home and see your family.
So, with this heavy load and jam-packed schedule, how do you know you are doing the important work? How do you know that you are working on the right stuff that will make the difference? Finally, how do you know that the rest of your team is also working on what counts? After all, our collective effort and impact will lead to our desired shift, not just a couple of good individual teachers.
Early in the term is an excellent opportunity for a quick pulse check to ensure alignment across your staff, your Leadership Team or your PLT. The next time you get your team together, try this little activity:
- Give everyone three post-it notes
- Get them to think about the term ahead. Without communicating with each other, write down the three most important tasks or priorities they are focussing on, or working towards throughout the term. Write down one on every post-it note.
- Get everyone, including the Principal, to share their answer, precisely as it is written on their post-it note.
- Group similar answers or themes and identify any outliers.
This will lead to some interesting discussion. Hopefully, there will be some alignment. Will that be the case for your team? What are the consistencies or, more importantly, the inconsistencies? Did your team have completely different responses to your leaders?
This activity is a great starting point to find clarity in your work. It helps ensure alignment, and your focus is on the right stuff.
It doesn’t need to be a focus on the next four years. A short and sharp eye for the term ahead, the next learning cycle or even the week can be a worthwhile discussion.
Good luck and have a great term!
Check out other articles Simon has written here.