Skip to main content

Tales of a Rookie Principal, Lesson 2: Listen



This afternoon, I was conducting some interviews with a panel of facilitators and learners. At the end of an interview process, I always like to incorporate the standard practice of asking candidates what they want to know from myself or others on the committee. Today, a whole three days into my adventure as a principal, I was asked what my priorities were in the coming school year and I realized that it really boiled down to one thing that would help set all other priorities for the year: I need to listen.

Part of joining any new school is learning about the climate and culture of the institution. Knowing what is important about the school to the learners, parents, facilitators, and the community is a vital first step to being able to do anything else. Of course, with it being only three days in, I am only beginning to scratch the surface of what this feedback looks like. When you also consider that it is mid-July, there are a number of these constituents that are out of town or taking care of other responsibilities, which makes getting feedback even more difficult. So, my job of listening has only just begun and will continue in the days and weeks ahead.

Since listening is so important, it has me being very intentional about how I interact with others and has brought a sense of awareness to the process. I particularly enjoy what this Harvard Business Review article has to say about the process of being a good listener. I also really enjoyed the feedback that I got today when I was able to listen to our learners talk about what they like about the school and what they look for in the leaders of the school. I don't know if other principals get such meaningful feedback from their learners, but I will add the insights of my learners to the ever-expanding column of pro's that I have found in this new journey.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Secret to Leading a School: Stay in Love

I had a moment this past week where I was walking around campus and things were just clicking. I was so in love with what I saw, that I went back to my post in the media center (where I prefer to spend my time instead of the office) and grabbed my cell phone so that I could take some pictures. The reason I felt so in love at that particular moment was that we were able to turn a schedule design challenge into something that would directly benefit our learners; and I was seeing the benefits to our learners in action! Our design issues was around the movement of our campus to a modified block bell schedule AND still trying to make time for our cross-grade level advisories that we call Networking. The result of that was the development of flexible days where learners sing up to go to particular classes as needed (or as required). 
What I saw on my walk of the building was the idealization of our goal to provide flexible scheduling to meet needs. There were learners who were having one on…

Leading by Doing: Why I am Using PBL to Design Professional Development

When I was first introduced to Project Based Learning it was as an offshoot to a much larger training that was provided to teachers in my (previous) district. I was in a group of classroom teachers who sought out the challenge of being a 1-to-1 iPad classroom in a school system that had previously not had this level of technology integration. The training was offered in such a way that the primary mechanism for teacher behavior change was through sparking interest and curiosity among educators. The goal being that we would feel comfortable stepping out on a limb and taking risks if we saw that there were other ways of doing things. The introduction went like a lot of professional development in a lot of places: As you can imagine there were a lot of people who were excited to try out Project Based Learning (PBL) and I was definitely one of them. Not long before leaving the classroom, I even launched my own nascent project that I fully regret not staying in the classroom a little longer…

Part 2: Leading by Doing: Why I am Using PBL to Design Professional Development

Identifying the Learning Objective
Recently, I shared the reasons why I am using Project Based Learning as a design model for our professional learning as a campus. This week, I would like to describe the early steps of that process.
I was hired in early July to be the principal of New Tech High @ Coppell. Any time you enter a new system (I was hired from outside the district) and especially a new campus, it can take some time to review the data, make observations, and develop a plan. The goal is to make sure that the plan that is created is not just driven by the traditions of the school or by the proclivities of the new leader, but by the current and future needs of the campus.
The first step in designing a lesson, project, etc. is understanding what standards, objectives, or essential questions that need to be obtained. When designing professional learning, the process begins just the same, the only difference is the question must be answered for adult learners. As a project based cam…

Currently Reading