I have recently read a book by Linda Gross Cheliotes and Marceta Fleming Reilly. The title is, Coaching Conversations, Transforming Your School One Conversation at a Time. The book is filled with great strategies and suggestions that could enhance your skills as a leader. Read more
In many school districts teacher improvement is measured by a traditional, outdated evaluation process conducted by building administrators. Very little improvement occurs for teachers as a result of this archaic process. Many of these observations are directed by individuals lacking background knowledge in an area of the curriculum being observed and evaluated. For the master teacher it is an exercise that rarely provides growth producing feedback. For the marginal teacher, it turns into a dog and pony show. In other words a lesson that is special and unique for the formal observation but rarely repeated throughout the year. However, we are entering a positive period with many changes to the evaluation process that are improving teaching and learning. The shift is to more of a self directed goal setting process that guide teachers in enhancing their own professional practice. Read more
The spring of the year is a welcome sign for many of us that have survived another frigid winter. It can be a difficult time for student’s to remain focused as we wind down the 2010-2011 school year. It is also a critical time for principals to communicate with their staffs about finishing strong with energy and focus. Read more
For the past several weeks many of my mentees have been preparing for interviews. Through the process of conducting mock interviews and planning meetings I wondered, could I answer all of these questions and meet the challenge of the interview process? My last interview was ten years ago and you may share a similar time frame. It got me thinking, why not self assess and take inventory of your performance by preparing for an interview? Read more
A few years ago a colleague of mine suggested that I read a book Monday Morning Leadership by David Cottrell. In it Cottrell reflects on eight sessions he had with his mentor. It is a concise read , filled with sound ,insightful leadership principles. In one of the chapters, Cottrell was encouraged to lead from something his mentor referred to as the learning zone as opposed to leading from the comfort zone.I use this as a reminder to avoid complacency and to challenge myself to take risks without fear of failure. If you find yourself repeating a pattern of complacency day after day this may be an indication that you need to move into the learning zone. Other characteristics of the learning zone include reading ten minutes a day, listening, goal setting, and staying positive. My focus for this blog is on the strategy of reading ten minutes a day. As a principal and even today as a consultant, I find it difficult to find the time to read. When I do read daily , I am better prepared, more productive and I acquire new knowledge that helps me grow as a professional. I am also able to discuss current issues and share pertinent information with those I am working with. I realize now that I can’t afford not to find the time to read daily. Literacy is at the heart of what we do in schools. The more you read the more you learn. By living in the learning zone we model how important reading is. Over the next month, I urge you to begin reading daily for ten minutes. Do the math. If you read ten minutes a day, how many books could you read in a year? Cottrell shares in his book the following thoughts: “most books are between 12 and 20 chapters, in ten minutes you’d be reading about half a chapter a day. During the next year, you’d have read 12 books. Do you think you would know more about your craft if you read 12 books on leadership and teaching and learning”? Reading daily is essential to professional growth. As a result I now make an appointment in my daily calendar to read. It is working and I am avoiding complacency! One thing is sure, I am committed to continuing to read daily and live in the Learning Zone .
So, I just had a great holiday break with my family, and my 29 year old son, who owns his own online company, is showing me some tips on how to better use my website and brand new Facebook business page.
It’s ironic that a thirty-some year educator like myself is now getting educated, but that’s a great message for all of us, as we can all learn from those around us, even our students.
I just wanted to post these thoughts to welcome you all back from holiday break and let you know that Hickey Leadership Group, LLC will be improving it’s online communications effort by ramping up website content with a twice-weekly blog, daily Facebook thoughts focused on leadership tips for educators of all levels, and other integrated content.
Dan Hickey is the owner of Hickey Leadership Group, LLC – a consulting firm focused on educational leadership. Hickey is a Learning Leader with more than 30 years of experience in public education. Check out his Facebook Thoughts of the Day.