I’ve spoken to several School Leaders and Teachers in the last week or so and I’ve felt obliged to start the conversation in the customary way. What I’ve found curious is the way the end of the conversation is as predictable as the start. Here’s how it goes:
Me: So, how’s the year started for you?
Educator: Yeah, pretty good actually. Kids seem really happy to be back.
Me: That’s good to hear.
Educator: Yeah, but I know reality will hit soon. I’m holding my breath.
Me: Ah, so the honeymoon will be over before you know it?
It’s funny isn’t it, this need we seem to have for doomsaying when times are good? Sure, teaching is going to throw some rocks in your path but do we really need to expect the worst when times are good? Who’s that helping?
And what if the current good times could last? What is it about the first few weeks that’s sustainable or replicable? Now that’s a question worth answering in your first Staff, Faculty or PLC meeting.
I reckon there’s a cohort of folk in our schools who work particularly hard in the first few weeks of school … they’re strange, sweaty, flustered and utterly indispensable breed of educator that we’ve come to call “Assistant Principals”.
Anyhow, if like yours and you think s/he deserves a narrower gap between the work that they do and the purpose for leading, then Simon’s White Paper “Intentional Leadership for APs : The Quest for Alignment and Purpose” is what they need to read … at recess … while on yard duty … in the toilet … wherever 5-10 minutes can be found.
Download a copy at this link.
We’re teasing you a little here, because this isn’t a current opportunity … but it’s coming.
Very soon we’ll be launching an app for Teachers that is going to change the game when it comes to Teacher Wellbeing.
No longer will we be waiting for a labelled “Staff Wellbeing” leader or team to purchase hot chips on a Friday morning in the hope that it makes people feel better.
We’re handing over the reins of Teacher Wellbeing to … wait for it … Teachers!
You’ll be able to choose the topic of help you want, you’ll be choosing the way you want to consume it and you’ll be doing it whenever you decide you need it … even if that’s not Friday morning.
We can’t wait … and we reckon you’ll be all over this opportunity too. So, stay tuned!
THOUGHTS by Simon Dewar
And we are underway! I always loved the first day of school and welcoming back my students with something new and exciting. Something that would make my class go ‘WOW, this will be a good year’.
I know that I’m not alone and there are plenty of these stories, so, if you get a couple of spare minutes, send me your WOW moment. Yes, I hear you, a couple of spare minutes…unlikely!
The big question today is ‘what’s next?’ I’ve been thinking about the challenge of how to best keep the momentum going and not just have a ‘honeymoon’ period until students find their feet. I recall momentum being explained to me like water skiing. Getting up is hard, but once you’re up, it’s easier to stay up.
It’s the same in your classroom. When you have momentum, harness it and keep pushing. It will help you create a culture in your classroom where your students are motivated, inspired and connected. The easiest starting point to gain momentum is to model the attitude, behaviour and work ethic that you would like to see in others. Have a great term.
EPIPHANIES by Cassie Kitani
The year has kicked off with a bang – lockdowns, outbreaks or back to business as usual depending on where you are in Australia.
It is easy to become overwhelmed with the sheer number of tasks that we need to complete and to struggle to feel like we are back on track. My three kids are each struggling with what will be coming next in their lives and I am running around doing my best to keep everyone on track, or at least stop them from falling out of their trees.
As the lead adult in the situation, I too become overwhelmed and part of that is because I need to keep my own feelings under wraps and presenting as ‘perfectly calm, nothing to see here’ as I help them navigate their oncoming trials.
After a particularly challenging weekend I was feeling frazzled and in need of escape and so I went for a drive. As I was driving I was still thinking about their fears and concerns and strategising how I might best help them through when I was struck by the sunset. I had to pull over and take a picture not only because it was beautiful but because I realised that I had actually seen it, noticed it and been stunned by it all at once. In that moment I realised I needed to take a moment and stop. Breathe. Notice the beauty. It caught me by surprise and the surprise was exactly what I didn’t know I needed, but did.
Sometimes you don’t know what you need until it appears before you.