My post asking Who Would Want to Be a Leader has received a great many responses both on my blog but also in conversations with leaders. It’s not hyperbole to say we are in a leadership crisis. The conversations on my podcast almost always explore succession challenges and the continued struggle to find good school leaders, particularly at the principal level.
I know many districts have and continue to have programs and initiatives designed to develop leaders internally. I also know many who are struggling to make these effective and produce the desired results of more great leaders. What I do know is that unless school districts are actively working to develop great leaders we are going to be facing a further acceleration of burnout and teacher shortages beyond what we’re currently witnessing. While there are multiple reasons and factors creating dissatisfaction, one that is referenced either directly or indirectly is the degree to which they feel supported and valued. More specifically, this is about leadership. Leaders who actively support, encourage, and work to reduce workload and stress are going to have a huge impact on teacher burnout and teacher retention.
I wanted to get some of my initial thoughts on Generative AI out there mostly for myself and to preserve my own thinking. This space has served me well over the past 18 years as a repository of my own thinking. Ideas evolve, shifts occur and concepts get refined and at times dismissed. I could likely comb through the 1200 posts and find numerous examples of things I no longer believe or got wrong. Unlike a book that is permanent, this space is built around the opportunity to record streams of consciousness and other moments in time. Like my own learning, it’s never finished. All that to say, these thoughts are current as of August 30, 2023. If you’re reading this any time after that I could be wrong and might think very differently. If that happens, I hope to record another post that addresses those changes. For now, here’s where I’m at.
Technology, when it’s at its best is like magic. Arthur Clarke famously said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” I prefer the science fiction writer Nick Harkaway’s version:
New technologies are often on the precipes of our senses and those who are less immersed in … Read the rest
For the regular readers I have, you may have noticed an increase of late in my blogging. This is not a result of any resolution or real intention but likely a by-product of less time and engagement on social channels and a desire to better flesh out my thinking and ideas and seek out those interested in providing more thoughtful feedback and interaction.
It’s obvious to anyone that education right now is a tough place to be. I suppose that’s true for many industries and organizations but any data, report or story you hear says education is not a profession that is very appealing. We all can list a number of factors, many outside of our control, some are long-standing systemic challenges and others might be new due to societal unrest. I can tell you my colleagues and I at ALP are working to support communities with long-term solutions around workplace wellness and leadership specifically to work towards a better future.
But no matter the challenges and circumstances, there are always those who thrive. This is essentially the definition of a positive deviant. Positive deviants are folks who have the same resources as others and yet succeed and thrive … Read the rest
We’ve seen a major focus on Social Emotional Learning in the past few years. Certainly, the pandemic made it a universal priority for schools. Overall, this has been a good thing and one I’ve advocated for a long time. Our mission is not simply to develop knowledge and skills but also citizens who have a sense of well-being and dare I say, happiness. That said, I’ve noticed a trend that is separating SEL and learning and making it appear at times that the two are mutually exclusive. While no one would ever voice that idea, I think that the ways in which the pandemic has affected people differently are revealing themselves in the lack of readiness for many to really engage in deep and meaningful learning.
It’s difficult to say which comes first: “deep learning” or “wellness”. If I’m forced to make this a binary decision, I’ll likely opt for wellness first, and deep learning second. But that’s just it. I don’t think it is a binary thing. In fact, I think in many cases deep and engaging learning leads to wellness and vice versa. They are complementary. I will say that early on in the pandemic it was … Read the rest
If you’re new here or new to this series, this is the origin story of my ongoing series on Delight. In essence, I’m working to be more mindful of those moments of delight that happen all the time but often get forgotten as quickly as they are experienced. This is my effort to document and savour these moments.
Madeline Black is a colleague and friend who shared with me her passion for golf. This week we had the opportunity to play together after our ALP retreat. She was clear that she is still relatively new to the game and had not played this year. I assured her we would have fun together. As someone who plays a lot of golf, it’s always a goal for me no matter who I play with we have fun. Golf can be a very intimating game and I’m conscious to address as many of the barriers as I can and make people feel comfortable. I suppose I take the same attitude into my work life.
Madeline is a natural athlete. She was hitting the ball quite solidly but like most golfers, especially new ones, struggled with consistency. When I play with new golfers … Read the rest