Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Having vision!

Our school met a little over a year ago and created a belief statement that is echoing through my brain like a chorus to a popular song; I just can't seem to get it out of my head. When I think about it, I realize that the belief statement is one that I have embraced. Our statement, "Together, we dream, believe, strive and succeed" was the product of many hours of arguing over individual words and I have to conclude that the arguments were worth it because it is a memorable little sentence that is impacting our professional decisions at the school level.

Today, I saw this statement in action. A teacher met with me this morning and we quickly took care of her question and then began talking about the possibilities of wikis. We spoke of trying to improve what we do, working more effectively and efficiently at how we communicate in an effort to become better teachers and serve our students better. For me it was the highlight of the day; it was collaboration, it was respectful, and it was hopeful. In the afternoon, I bumped into a student just after I left a classroom and she was looking for our career transition advisor because she was interested in learning more about going to university; I told her I hadn't and she said well maybe you can help. I thought how nice it was to have a student ask for help regarding her future and I immediately changed my plans and spent 20 minutes showing her around the U of S website. It occurred to me that this is what together is all about. A student needed help, the resource person she was looking for was not available, and I stepped up and filled in the role meeting the student's need. It felt like I was making a difference and I was glad that I had taken the time to learn as much as I could about technology because I was able to find what she was looking for on the internet in a matter of minutes. I was sharing in the student's dream and I was showing her I believed in her by taking her request for help as being more important than working on exit reports or PAA reporting sheets. Her efforts in school may be heavily influenced by the 20 minute conversation we had today.

I also saw team work (together) today; at a high school meeting after school I presented the problem I was having supporting online learners in our school. I just don't have enough hours in the day to reach the students consistently enough who need help. So I asked the group if they would be willing to help by taking interest in one or two students each to monitor their progress and to encourage them to keep working. I am delighted to report that I had no problem getting staff to volunteer; they want to see our students succeed and they are willing to work as a team to see it happen. It was a good day at school; I networked with colleagues, I had positive interactions with students, I visited a class, I took care of some of the administrivia that is on my plate, and I left the school late feeling tired, but satisfied that, for today anyway, my day was spent more as an educational leader than as a cranky old guy in the hallway.

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