I am not one to look at the calendar and start counting down the weeks and days until summer break, but yesterday, as I was working on my weekly memo I send out to staff, I came to a cross roads and looked to see just how many week are left.
You see, I was recently introduced to a book titled, "7 Steps to a Language Rich Interactive Classroom", by John Seidlitz. It is full of simple yet impactful strategies to increase language development in classrooms. As the principal of a bilingual, title I campus, you can imagine how important language development is for ALL of our students. In fact, language development has been the focus of our learning throughout the school year. A few of our teachers were able to attend a training earlier in the year and received this book, but it was a small number of teachers. I was ready for the majority of our teachers to see the strategies in this book. But...there are only eight weeks left.
Hence the crossroads...at what point in the school year do you "shut it down" or stop exposing teachers to ideas that will make them better? At what point in the school year, do you decide that it would be better to "wait until next year"? How do you discern between what be can and should be shared now versus what should wait?
As I mentioned, language has been our focus all year so I see this book and these 7 steps as a continuation of what we have been doing all year. In some cases, teachers really are, already doing this. With eight weeks to go, I believe we can introduce one step a week and gain exposure to what we will continue to focus on next year. I think that is the key...
If I was going to roll something out over the last eight weeks of school and never visit it again, then it really is one more thing. This book, these 7 steps and strategies have been our focus all year and will continue to be our focus next year.
As a principal, I do my best to be aware of what is on our teachers plates and thankfully, I have teachers who can openly remind me when the plate is too full and we need to tap the brakes. With best intentions, leaders can lose sight of just how full the plates are, so I appreciate the trust we have established. I appreciate when they can openly tell me how full the plate is.
I created a Smore Page to help highlight each of the 7 steps over the next eight weeks. Will each staff member take advantage of them? Maybe. Maybe not. I will focus on the staff members that do and will be able to use their efforts next fall, as we move forward, making these strategies a best practice.
Check out our Smore Page: 7 Steps to a Language Rich Interactive Classroom
Being the pleaser I am as a principal, consciously always wanting everyone to be happy about everything, I was nervous about the response to pushing out the first of these 7 steps. (I know...rough character trait to possess as a leader, because its nearly impossible to keep everyone happy) Then this happened! As I walked into a 2nd grade classroom at 9:15 AM, just hours after sending out the Smore highlighted above, I see the following, captured in the image you see.
I was so proud of this teacher. She printed the strategy, introduced it to her students and had this visual placed on each of the student groups' desks.
The mindset this teacher possesses aligns with mine. We have eight weeks to go and we are going to finish the year stronger than we started. We are going to teach until the final bell, taking advantage of each day and model for our students that we must never stop learning.
Just one of the reasons I I love my school on #ILoveMySchoolDay.
What was your moment today?
Labels: #oneword, 2016, leadership, mindset, Moment