Good morning everyone and welcome to the 295th edition of Monday Moanin Thoughts. Over the weeks since spring break, I have met with several building administrators to listen and discuss the work they do. I have come away with many impressions and at the top of the list is that administrators are very good at identifying the challenges of their job. If you ask them how things are going, you will hear a steady stream of passion about the challenges they are facing. However, when the conversation shifts towards talking about their highlights, there is usually caution, apprehension, reflection, and then some reluctance to share. Why is it that challenges are easy to discuss and highlights are a struggle? Could it be that challenges tend to be more urgent? Continued focus on challenges and what is not going well can rob leaders of the positive influence they need to lead. It is important to recognize and validate all of the many highlights that occur daily. This spring, make a commitment to provide positive ENERGY and celebrate all of the good stuff happening in your organization. Read more
Good morning to all of you wonderful educators on this chilly , icy Michigan 2018 Monday Moanin. The spring is a challenging time for students to stay focused on their studies. Who is kidding who, it is difficult for adults to stay focused also. As a result, now is a great time to revisit , refocus, and share with each other some instructional best practices that will help keep the learner focused on learning and less on the distractions of springtime. Listed below are some reminders that may help. Teachers, you may want to consider the following reminders and suggestions. Read more
Happy Monday Moanin to everyone and welcome back to many of you from spring break 2018. To assist you with your work this week, consider focusing on a few of my top tweets from January to March 2018. They will serve you well as you begin the closing weeks of your school year. Read more
Happy final Monday Moanin of March 2018. For many, this may be the final week before spring break 2018. For most of us in Michigan we have reached the time of year to begin the annual event of spring cleaning. It’s the time we open up the windows and get rid of the cooped up, cabin fever, stale winter air and be open to the newness and hope of springtime. This may also be a perfect time to conduct a professional spring cleaning that will help to let go of some things and freshen up your practice. Use the questions listed below to guide your reflection. They are: Read more
Welcome to the latest Monday Moanin Thoughts. For many, this is the week before we have a well deserved Spring Break. My mentor always encouraged me to write a welcome back message to staff as they return from their break. If you are planning to do the same, consider getting started on it now. The goal is to validate the hard work and commitment of your staff and set the stage for the final weeks of school. Below are four prompts from leaders they sent to their staffs that set the tone as they began the home stretch to the end of the school year. Read more
Welcome to the first Monday Moanin of March 2018. Wow, spring will be coming soon. This week I met with several educational leaders and it became clear how difficult and challenging it is to be a leader in schools today. Some of my observations about their challenges included issues like poor funding, teaching and learning, school safety, shrinking autonomy, student testing, and staff/student morale. So, how do you deal with these and other challenges and still keep your organization effective and growing? This week, how are you going to lead? Consider focusing on the three areas below.
- Lead by taking care of the little things. Be well planned and organized for the week. John Maxwell writes; ” Don’t try to conquer the world until you’ve taken care of things in your own backyard.”
- Spend this week leading from your strengths. Reflect on what you do well and stay in that lane. Enhance your practice. Maxwell shares; ” Set your priorities and focus on your strengths today.”
- Lead with the right attitude this week. Lead with your glass half full. Your staff doesn’t need to hear you blame others for the challenges everyone faces. Take responsibility for your attitude. Maxwell reminds; “Life is full of surprises, and the adjustment of our attitudes is a lifelong project. The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”
Lead this week by taking action and keep finding the good stuff.
It is hard to believe that this is the final Monday Moanin of February 2018. In much of the country and certainly Michigan, we are dealing with the challenges of winter. Less daylight, cold, snow, ice, rain, flooding, fog , and let’s not forget the roads with potholes the size that could swallow up your vehicle. It is also the time of year where you spend more time indoors. It is rare that you talk to your neighbors, much less see them. Similar things can happen in your schools. It is easy to become isolated and not see or be available to others. So, this week let’s fight isolation and work at being more community minded. This week, consider trying some of the things listed below. Read more
Good morning and happy Monday Moanin to all of you. Many authors agree that successful organizations and teams need a healthy tension to be productive. My definition of healthy tension is an organization rooted in a collaborative climate. Some examples include staff engaging in discussions about instruction, learning, growth and possible changes in how individuals teach and students learn. The opposite is an organization that focuses on teacher/adult happiness that may not have enough tension or discipline to change and improve. Some describe this as a more congenial environment than collegial. Read more
Welcome to the first MMT of February, 2018. I am writing this on a snowy, windy, frigid Super Bowl Sunday in Michigan. Over the past few weeks I have had conversations with many central office and building administrators about several topics including, how can they improve their effectiveness. During one of these discussions I raised the topic of leaders that delegate many responsibilities and decisions to others. Delegation certainly is a common leadership strategy that fits with shared decision-making, capacity building, trust, and using your resources well to name a few. Delegating to your team members can also help improve your organizations effectiveness and assist in getting tasks and work done more efficiently. However, delegation without action can hurt your organization and ultimately the work being completed. The challenge for a leader that delegates is, do they stay engaged? Do they check in with staff members for updates? Are they available to support and assist the team? Will they share in owning the outcome and decision recommended by the team? Read more
Well lets put the final January Monday Moanin 2018 in the books. Here comes February. I hope all of you had a great weekend. After reading a quote from Bud Ozar my thoughts kept returning to how parenting and administration is so similar. In both roles your children or your staff can leave you out of conversations and avoid approaching you with things they think you won’t approve of or be disappointed in. Or maybe they just don’t want to have the discussion and they will choose how to deal with it their own way. As a result, the parent or the administrator is in a situation that they don’t know what they don’t know. In other words they are left in the dark, maybe on purpose. There can be some good things that come out of not being aware of the issue. For example your kids or staff may learn how to take ownership of the issue or problem they may going through. The Ozar quote fits perfectly for this issue of darkness and being left out. It’s written for parents, but fits for school administrators. Read more