3 areas of concern (Notice)

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Recently I posted 3 reasons why your sightings can be a waste of time and to say that it struck a chord would be an understatement. I’m glad that is the case, because leadership is important and there is a big disconnect between how teachers feel and how principals say they lead. This is not about going after leaders, but about opening a larger conversation about school leadership.

There are really 3 areas that are at the heart of disconnection. These 3 areas that are problematic for school leaders are the meetings of teachers, the observations of teachers which ultimately affect the school climate. The school climate is the bedrock upon which everything else rests, and it is clear from the comments and results of a few small sample surveys that there are many school climates that are fractured.

Why is this a big deal? Due to our current stressors of increasing accountability, mandates and high-stakes testing, the rhetoric in the media is that schools are broken, and if leaders don’t do something about them. problems we face, rhetoric will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It’s a vicious circle. What is responsible for the disconnection felt by teachers from their leaders? Is it increased accountability or leadership? I used to believe that all school leaders worked as hard as the leaders I know and worked with, and I realized that not all leaders are created the same. The disconnection is deafening.

Domain 1 – Faculty meetings

3 reasons why your teachers’ meetings are a waste of time I wrote that these 3 reasons are,

Summary in an email – Dates, times, compliance, compliance, compliance. Do your faculty a favor. Email it so they don’t have to seem engaged and interested. They are teachers, not children, and they can read more easily than they can hear when it comes to typical information about teachers’ meetings. Teachers did not help co-construct the meeting – Why are teachers so negative? Probably because they have to go to another place dictated by the principals where they had no say in the matter. Many school leaders show up to a faculty meeting with a single idea of ​​how they want to move forward and walk away with the same idea. It is speaking. If you come in with an idea and come away with the same, you are unsure of yourself, a tyrant, or have no idea. Our teachers can help improve any idea. They’ve spent as much time in education classes as you do. Do them a favor … respect them and ask their opinion. The best school leaders always do. He didn’t focus on learning – Look at your mission statements. Do you have an aspiration for your school? Do teachers know what it is? What about parents and students? Is the word “learn” somewhere in there? If not, it’s probably not the focus of your faculty meetings either.

At the end of the article, I added a poll asking a number of questions. Here are 3 of those questions with the answers. The first question was whether the faculty meetings are co-constructed between teachers and school leaders.

Over 85% of the roughly 500 teachers who responded said no. I understand this is a small random sample, but I don’t think the results are wrong. How many leaders actually co-construct faculty meetings with staff?

Question 2 asked whether teachers thought faculty meetings reflected professional development sessions.

80% of respondents responded that faculty meetings are not professional development sessions. And sadly, the last question was just asking if faculty meetings were a waste of time. 80% of respondents felt their faculty meetings were a waste of time.

Which brings me to this …

Domain 2 – Teacher’s observations

According to John Hattie, someone I work with as a visible learning trainer, when teacher observations are done correctly, they can have a high effect size. Formative assessments that focus on teaching a teacher can have an effect size of 0.90, which is more than twice the tipping point of 0.40.

Unfortunately, the consideration of comments on the message and teachers’ comments on the survey results is insufficient. The 3 reasons I suggested are:

No New Learning – Observed teachers do not learn anything new during the teacher observation process. And sadder than that is the fact that the teacher never expected to learn anything new from the process! What is the aspiration of the teacher and the students? How do school leaders contribute to the achievement of these aspirations? Too Much Talk – The headteacher talks more than he listens, and he only focuses on the positive … and that positive is pretty superficial. In Improving Teaching One Conversation at a Time (Educational Leadership. 2015), Shelly Arneson writes, “Even though the administrator has nothing but glowing things to say about a classroom lesson, the post-observation meeting is. often one-sided, looking like this: “Thought that was great. I liked the way you grouped the students together. Do you have any questions before signing to confirm that you received this?” Even if the teacher wanted to talk about the lesson, this type of introduction shuts the door. ”Surface Level – If you’re familiar with the Danielson setting, you know that observational meetings should be“ All About Conversation ”. Unfortunately, too many leaders and teachers do not delve deep enough into the good, bad and ugly of observation. Arneson mentions “time constraints”, “fear of the unknown” and other reasons It is even more complicated because of the relationship between the leader and the teacher, the general school climate and respect for the observation process.

As usual, there are people who comment under anonymous names, and sometimes those comments can be blunt. Over the years of writing this blog, I have learned to eliminate some of the poisonous comments and look for a common theme. Here are some of the comments that were made on the blog and in the poll results:

Having never had a principal or assistant stay in my room longer than 5 minutes, here are three other possible ones: Revenge, Obligatory, Ridiculous (Dr Harper). As a former principal, superintendent and director of university education, I can honestly say that the problem is time. I’ve been saying for a long time that if a principal walks through every class every day, they’ll have a sound image of every teacher and every child long before winter break (ptrkfav1). Many school principals spend very little time as teachers. In my district there are directors with less than 5 years of teaching experience. To think that they can offer insight or advice on best practice is illusory at best. Waste of time (Craig1071). This is a good place to re-emphasize that the widespread adoption of the Charlotte Danielson process has made the assessment process even more unnecessary while increasing the work for both parties (Ebasco). First, when was the last time an administrator (by definition someone who couldn’t cut it in class!) Was an academic and not a former PE teacher? Or, better yet, not even your discipline? The observations of those who cannot teach and those who arguably can are illogical (Yukio).

Time was seen as a factor in the lack of effective evaluations, and some respondents said their leaders did a great job providing effective feedback. However, more often than not, respondents suggested that the comments were either brief … or one-sided. Additionally, some of the comments on the survey led teachers to admit that they had not been observed for a year or more.

We cannot ignore the fact that some school leaders have not completed their observations, which only accentuates the disconnection that leaders and teachers feel from each other, and this has an effect on leaders. who do their job every day.

Domain 3 – School climate

There is no doubt that others responded that their leaders work hard to forge relationships with stakeholders, but in many cases the results were not favorable to school leaders, which has an effect on leaders who do their job and innovate in their roles. , because they have to counterbalance the opinions of so many who react negatively about leaders.

All of this, good or bad, ultimately has an effect on the school climate. There are positive, supportive, and inclusive school climates, which means they are a good place for kids. And then there are others who are not favorable and hostile. If leaders are to strive for a more positive school climate, they must start with at least two places that have been around for as long as formal education has existed, and those two places are faculty meetings and observers. teachers.

How are you going to lead?

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