Standard 7 – Utilize instructional frames to improve teaching.
When starting this standard I had not really thought about my leadership style or different formats of leadership previously. As a pedagogical leader in the school I previously worked at I was in a position to lead others in the school setting. It is hard to admit that I had a hard time getting others to participate in the new practices that I wanted to implement in the school. I spent a lot of time trying to get others to align to the new standards I had been working on and not being very successful in implementing some of the ideas that I had for the school moving forward. At the beginning of the standard I had didn’t have an idea of the most effective leadership strategies and the different types of leadership models that are available to be utilized in different situations.
In Organizational Behavior in Education, by Owens and Valesky, highlights several different behavioral methods and strategies and how they can be applied to schools to achieve different needs in the school setting. Seeing the different strategies that we can use in the school to achieve different results depending on the situation that you are in. I found that the leadership style assessments we did helped provide a lot of insight into my leadership style. I have a lot of concern for other’s feelings and ideas and high expectations for productivity. I have found that I have very high expectations for the amount and type of work that my fellow teachers do and how they teach in the classroom.
We also studied different principals from Spirituality in Educational Leadership by Houston, Blankstein and Cole.
The first principal is the principal of intention. I like the metaphor about stones on a pond for our intentions. When we go about doing something we do not do it in a vacuum. Our intentions have a lot of impact on what we do in our lives and how those actions affect others. Especially when you are in a leadership position your intentions are far more reaching than when you are in a following role. They talk about the meaning behind intention in the book Spirituality in Educational Leadership by Houston et. al.. This meaning behind our intentions is something that we must all examine, why are we trying to raise test scores? At the school I teach at we do not hold our students to a standardized test, but we do try to make sure they are meeting the standards for common core, though we do it in an individualized way. Our intention in not measuring our children with a standardized test then ripples out and affects others in different ways. It affects how teachers teach and how students view themselves and how others will view our school and our students. I will have to think about how my actions ripple out and affect those around me including the students in our school and their parents and more than that. This new position I am in is different from my previous experience, where I allegedly had more say in what was going on in the school, but now when I look back on my previous experience I wonder about my director’s intentions and if she thought about how far reaching they can be.
Unique talents and gifts are something that we all have. I like the metaphor of the polishing, and how you should never polish the same side twice, as then you will never polish the whole. It is important to also notice that we all have multiple talents and gifts, and how we all seek to cultivate our own gifts and talents. We all have uniqueness and strengths that we might never encounter in our working lives. We all have unique talents and gifts and many of these will be relieved as we go through our professional lives. Cultivating and sharing our talents might be easier said than done. You must first identify your talents and then cultivate them before sharing them with others.
Gratitude, it’s a hard thing to wrap a mind around in a community of excess. We should be grateful for what we have. Our kids have so much and we have so much that it’s hard to really remember what being grateful is. People do so much for us and it’s important for us to remember what they do for us and that this is a work on their part. These people are working for us. As a leader we should remind our teachers to show gratitude to their students. They do so much work for us, and while they are ultimately doing it for themselves, often they do it for us. To please us. We owe gratitude to our students, the teachers on our teams, those under us. They do work for themselves, but ultimately they work for us.
The principle of unique life lessons is that we are still working on what we are, where we are going and what we are doing. I have been working on myself since I separated from my husband and this life lesson has been unique in that I learned that I need to listen to myself instead of others. I need to pay attention to my needs and desires rather than focus on others. It is important that when we get our life lessons that we pay attention and not forget what we are supposed to be learning from our experiences.
I like the idea that we follow Addicus Finch’s words and walk around in someone else’ shoes. We often spend so much time with our own perspective that we forget that as a leader we need to be aware of everyone else’s perspective as well. I have read the book about the mice and the elephant several times and each time it makes me think that communication is really the key to figuring things out and that is the leader’s role. We are supposed to facilitate communication between people who have parts of the whole picture. It’s our job to bring the whole into focus and help them work together. It’s important that we do our best to help others communicate and work together and a holistic perspective is key to making this happen and without someone ensuring that we all see each other’s perspectives it’s not going to happen.
Being open is not always the easiest thing to do. Openness brings change and change brings uncertainty. I know that we should all be open to change and new ideas and that being open to these things is sometimes hard. Right now my school is trying to align our grading system. All of the lower school is going to have to grade the same way on the standards. Not everyone is open to this and i know that being open is something that makes change easier. I think being open to new ideas and information and ways of doing things is what keeps us fresh and going. If we always do things the same way we get mired in what we have been doing and lose sight of why we have been doing it. It is important to remember that we are growing changing beings and that change requires us to be open to new things.
Trust is a huge issue in leadership. You must trust that those under you are going to do what they say and what you ask. I think being open and good and trusting can go both ways, you have to give people enough trust so that they can function and succeed but you also have to keep tabs on them and what they are doing. I currently entrust my class to another teacher and he teaches them social studies. I trust him to do this. I don’t keep tabs on him and he in turn trusts me to teach his kids science. This trust is the kind that my principal has for me, she trusts me to do my job. This is how leadership should be, keeping tabs but largely trusting others to do their jobs.
I also did a research critique about homeschool that (Annotated Bibliography). The reason to do this project was to dig into a controversial issue that arises in schools. I chose homeschooling for my project and came away with some interesting information, and I gained insight into why and how people homeschool their children. This cumulated in a power point presentation that focused on the research from the annotated bibliography.
I also did a Visionary Leadership Analysis (VLA) about the school that I am currently teaching at, analyzing the leadership of the school. This exercise has helped me look at leadership and see what is working or not working in the school that I am teaching at. To do this I used the TPEP Frameworks and the text by Owens and Vakesky.
The overall impact of the standard is that I feel more equipped to lead in the school. I have an idea of how to adjust my leadership style to fit the needs of the situation and I learned about what goes on behind the scenes of a school to keep things running smoothly. I took part in valuable conversations that solidified my understanding of what it means to be a leader in a school. I set goals for myself and came away with information that will serve me in the years to come.
Owens, R.G., & Valesky, T.C. (2015). Organizational behavior in education: Leadership and school reform (11th ed). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Houston, P.D., Blankstein, A.M., & Cole, R.W. (2008). Spirituality in educational leadership. Thousand Oakes, CA: Corwin.