Sunday, March 22, 2015

Shut up and listen: Leadership Reflection

Hi! Welcome to my brain spew space. To those who don't know me, I have recently won the job as 'senior team leader' at Russell Street School. And I couldn't be more happy! I feel very supported by my colleagues and fellow leadership members.

My first leadership meeting was exciting and I got swept away with this feeling so that when I was asked the question "well what do you think?", my blank expression must have given away that I didn't actually have a thought.  I have reflected on this and now I have ensured that I am active listening to the conversation, and I am constantly thinking of a response.  But on the other hand, I think that it is ok to not have a response sometimes because some things may require a shorter think time.

Leading up to my first team meeting, I was a nervous wreck!  Am I organised? What if I don't know an answer to something? What if something doesn't work? How will I solve a problem or issue if it arises? First thing on the agenda, maths text books: how effective are they? Do we still value them? 

Let's just bounce back 2 or 3 years when I was part of the senior team choosing these resources to support learning.  I was part of a trial group and we loved them! Children really took ownership over using them - parents could read and follow the excellent examples provided within the pages and learn how to solve maths problems with today's strategies.  

Back to the meeting, the feeling of the group was that these books were not a good use of our time and money; they are not made as a work book and not meant to be written in.  It went against what I believed and I was starting to feel quite hot under the collar.  All the while, in the back of my mind I could hear a little voice telling me that leaders do not tell, they inspire.

How can I bring this conversation back into my way of thinking?
Round the circle it goes.
"Leaders do not tell, they inspire."
I usually speak my mind during team meetings but now I'm not sure where I stand?
Round and round the circle it goes.
"Leaders do not tell, they inspire.... Leaders do not tell, they inspire."

Suddenly, the conversation yanks on the hand-brake and pulls a massive u-turn.  I start to relax.  My back slowly releases all its tension.  I feel myself breathing again deep into my stomach. We do still value the maths texts books!

What did I learn from leadership today? Shut up and listen.

Friday, March 20, 2015

How to Talk So Teachers Listen

So this was my first "Coaching Leadership" session with Carol Lynch.  It was big.  It was bold.  It made my brain hurt.  I loved it!

Returning from swimming sports this day, I felt a bit jaded.  However, this coaching session really got my neurons fire!

We started with this quote:

I instantly related this quote to how we started #Poutama last year.  I had the advantage of working in an agentic learning community the year before. So when we kicked off with our planning, I was really pushing for us to relinquish control.  I think I caused a little bit of stress as a result.  Actually a lot of stress...  Sorry you guys!  

I really needed to step back a little bit so that we all could grow together.

A continuum of an expert learner:

The point of this activity was to unpack the practices of an expert learner.  If we are wanting to develop learner agency, then we need to get this right when we are designing learning. Self-agent learners are self-regulating. 

I'm looking forward to the next session!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

#blennz reflection

Blind and Low Vision Network New Zealand

This was a very beneficial day as I have worked with learners with low vision before but I'd never worn glasses that simulated what it was like to have a vision impairment.  What I came to realise is how tough it is on the rest of your body (ie your neck and shoulders), how tough it is to complete set learning tasks (within a time frame), and how tough it is to participate and contribute in everyday life! I take my hat off to these learners.

In the afternoon, we took our glasses out into the playground and the #blennz people got us to play a game of soccer together.  It was incredibly hard to see the goals, the ball or who was on my team!  After only a few adjustments - (yellow and orange high visibility vests, bright ball and bright cones), could we play this team game with much more success.

I made numerous connections with #UDL whereby slightly adapting the the rules or the timeframe or the task students can still experience success.