Skip to main content

Drinking Water From A Firehose

One of our favorite phrases in education is that new things are, "like drinking water from a firehose." I think the analogy is a favorite because there are a lot of instances where an educator steps into a situation and faces demands that are not only instant but high in quantity. Are you a teacher in a building with a new principal? Give them time, it's like drinking water from a firehose right now. Got a new superintendent? It's like drinking water from a firehose. Maybe you are the new principal or the new superintendent. Believe me, as someone who was a new principal last year... it's like drinking water from a firehose!

While the analogy is a good one and can apply to so many situations, it can be just as overwhelming to hear that. The question is, how do we turn the constant stream into something that is usable? I'm no firefighter (and my thoughts and prayers go out to the ones in California right now who are battling blazes), but I imagine that the way the water from the firehose becomes productive is by managing the pressure and the direction. As educational leaders, what can we do to manage the pressure and the direction of the information, demands, and initiatives that are coming at us?

Managing the Pressure

One easy way to manage the pressure and volume of everything coming at us is to choose what streams we will pay attention to and give priority to. Demands can come from lots of different directions, but which ones help us to meet our core mission of helping all learners achieve at high levels? Additionally, while lots of things are important to address, knowing that I/you do not have to manage the pressure alone is probably just as important. When a crew comes out to put out a fire, there isn't just one person manning the hose but many. In education we have a pretty large and pretty reliable crew, and knowing who is on your team and what their strengths are can help us manage the pressure.

Managing the Direction

High flows of water pointed in the wrong direction can be very damaging therefore, pointing our energy in the wrong direction can be the same. So how do we use everything coming at us and redirect it to become useful for our learners? Having a team that can help set priorities and having thought partners are an essential part of the equation. Having focused, targeted conversations about what we are going to do to improve our schools and outcomes for our learners is vital to our success. As we accomplish targeted objectives, are we paying attention and are we moving our focus to the next area that needs attention? Trying to accomplish everything at once means we can't have focused energy and likely means we won't really accomplish anything. 


Today in particular has been a "firehose" day in my learning. I can't wait to get back to my campus to assemble the team, identify our targets, and accomplish our objectives.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Iron Chef New Tech: Cooking With Authenticity In Your Projects

Written by Steffany Batik with many thanks to the instructional leadership team that helped make this learning experience happen: Norrie Brassfield (a special thanks to Norrie for setting up the contacts with our Coppell neighbors and for considerable legwork on getting the baskets set up), Carolyn Daniel, Anthony Hufford, Brandy Osterberger, Raheela Shaikh, Garrett Voelker.

This past summer, I had the opportunity to attend my first New Tech Annual Conference (NTAC) with a few of our staff members. One of the sessions I went to was a competition-based session dubbed PBL Chopped. In the session, school teams competed against each other to create the "tastiest" project using secret standards, a project slide template, and about 20 minutes on the clock. After observing this session and sharing with the other members of our team at NTAC, we felt that this could be an experience we could use for the facilitators in our building in a future staff development.


Fast forward several mo…

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…

Fun Staff Holiday Idea: Up-Cycled School Shirts

This post is a bit of a departure from my usual musings, but I hope you'll find reading the content to be as fun as it was to live it!!

A week before the Thanksgiving break, I was sitting in the cafeteria with a couple of coworkers and our minds began to wander to the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas break. Well, once that started to happen, it wasn't long before we were talking about ways to make that time fun since it would otherwise be filled with end of semester projects, exams, and grades. From that conversation, was the birth of the idea to up-cycle some of our old school t-shirts. 

The rules of the staff shirt up-cycle game:

use an old staff or school shirtdecorate it for the holidaysbest decorated shirt wins a prize (and honestly, it was so much fun I am bringing everyone something on Monday who participated)When you throw something like this out, you never know who will participate. Some educators received a little (cough) help. Some decorated their shirts on thei…

Currently Reading