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’ve been privileged to work in and with leadership in education for much of my career. I’ve been around so many great leaders and admire their various qualities and approaches to leadership. While it’s easy to think there are essential characteristics that make up a good leader, the truth according to the research shared within the book “The Nine Lies About Work” is that leadership is not a thing. The only real measure of leadership is followers.
I don’t think this is a new concept. Good leaders, lead and their followers help with implementing and supporting their leaders. What seems to be different today is how leaders are perceived and treated and it concerns me.
Successful leaders don’t necessarily seek to do good work but rather gain followers. That’s a neutral statement in that, that can be good or bad. Today you see many successful leaders with a lot of loyal followers who aren’t necessarily aligned with your values. It seems that many of today’s leaders, particularly those in politics have to define an enemy and target them relentlessly. Much like sports, leadership in many circles is about competing against other leaders and working simply to defeat them … Read the rest
It’s hard not to like Joe Sanfelippo. Despite his annoying habit of posting the Packer logo after they win, he’s a good man, doing good work. He also uses video in a pretty unique way. As part of a workshop I was doing with some local administrators, I wanted to share Joe’s approach and thinking around how and why he uses this content. I was intending to have him share during our live session but he wasn’t able to make that time so he graciously agreed to sit down with me via Zoom for a quick chat. Here’s the edited version of our conversation.
My new podcast (I’ve been podcasting for 10 years, just not very regularly) was born out of curiosity and the realization that there may never be a better time to do this. I’m well aware that many others are jumping on the bandwagon and that’s fine, in fact, that kind of sharing should be encouraged and applauded.
I’ve always said that if I have any strength, it’s my large network that has been built for the past 15 years. I know a lot of people, a lot of smart people. So with some extra time I decided to try and capture as many different people, places and roles around the world to share the impact of Covid19. I share with them these questions as a guide to our conversation:
1. What are you and your fellow teachers being asked to do with regards to your new duties? 2. What supports or messaging are you most grateful for? 3. What challenges are you most concerned about? 4. What does your new daily routine look like that you’re finding either delightful or odd? 5. What good are you hoping results from this crisis?
I had some thoughts on it a while back but in the light of our world today and my most recent post I think it’s worth acknowledging further. While the recent post was intended to shed light on the opportunities that exist, I did address briefly the equity issue but wanted to expand a little on that idea.
I’ve never been a big fan of the term achievement when it comes to learning. It seems like a term that invokes competition and constant goal setting, and for someone who’s hobbies are generally more playing games that pay real money instead of hobbies in competitive environments – it’s not appealing to me. Not that those can’t be useful perspectives but it makes learning sound like a mountain to climb rather than an environment to live in.
Equity has become an increasingly important conversation in education. Whether it’s economic, physical, racial, cognitive or other, education has equity problems. Physical classrooms and spaces can address some of these but now with all our students at home, the differences among our students are fully amplified. Classrooms and schools while certainly far from perfect do many things to give all students opportunities to learn and … Read the rest