I kind of wonder if, when I start a sentence with, “I just finished reading…” colleagues want to run away. I get it if they do. I know more now because of my professional learning via twitter than I ever did as a teacher and principal. That’s just a fact. And I’m not shy about sharing and modeling my failures, learning, reading, and growth. Two steps forward, one back. The sharing falls under what I used to think when attending a wrestling clinic as a coach. If I get one good thing out of this clinic, it’s a good use of my time. If, via sharing and modeling, I can convince one leader to take a good hard look at his/her own learning and growth, it’s worth my time. And I know it will be worth hers/his.
In the last 48 hours I’ve read two books by Baruti Kafele. Prior to 48 hours ago, I had not heard of Principal Kafele. I read The Principal 50: Critical Leadership Questions for Inspiring Schoolwide Excellence and Is My School a Better School Because I Lead It?
One could certainly wonder, “Geez dude, do you ever work? How do you have time to read two books over the last 48 hours? Must be nice.”
Well it is nice, and it’s helpful that the books are 95 and 62 pages respectively. Don’t let the small page numbers make you think the books don’t pack a punch. They do. When Principal Kafele says, “Though I have been called a ‘motivational speaker’–my objective is to create discomfort toward inspiring leadership excellence.” He is not kidding.
Try these ideas on for size.
- Is your school a better school because you are there?
- Would your school be a better school if someone else were leading it instead of you? (Wow!)
- Do staff members feel they have grown in their practice thanks to your instructional leadership? (I LOVE this one)
- Just because principals don’t work in the classroom doesn’t mean they shouldn’t teach! Leadership itself is a series of lessons that you provide to students, staff, and even parents on how to approach matters big and small.
- Your leadership presence conveys a message to students, staff, parents whether you want it to or not; the question is whether you are in control of that message.
- What’s the one thing over all of my responsibilities that I deem I simply must accomplish?
- Your school cannot afford for you to be the same person next year on this date that you are today.
- Leaders are readers, and they learn from other leaders. Effective school leaders read regularly despite–or more precisely, to help guide–the long hours that they invest every day toward ensuring student excellence. They have such an obsession with growth as leaders that they carve out the necessary time.
Here’s my morning so far. I’ve met with our assistant director about some professional learning we’re leading with two groups soon, I’ve spoken with two principals, worked on some of our bond related items, and read a 62 page book, Is My School a Better School Because I Lead It? And now I’m writing about it. And I have a meeting in about 10 minutes. I have an obsession with growth and learning. I carve out the necessary time to make both happen. And I share.
Because I just finished reading…..