Day 98 (of 186) thanks @casas_jimmy for writing #Culturalize a great book about learning community culture
Sure a lot of leadership in education is about relationships relationships and relationships….but how you act and interact with those relationships helps bilious/maintain/change a culture. And cultures can become toxic. They can be ….. fine. Occasionally dynamic – but no matter what we should be focus on on shifting the culture of our school to be even more positive. Because as good as schools can be – there is always room for growth – and someone who doesn’t feel that the school they are in is “theirs”.
So….what has Jimmy synthesized….?
My notes and connections:
4 Core Principles of Positive School Culture
Champion for all students – everyone has a story…
Expect Excellence of everyone – don’t make excuses; maintain standards
Carry the banner for their school – make your school the best place to be at
Be a merchant of hope – every child deserves the opportunity to be a part of something great
Do students experience the 3 Cs:
are they Connected?
do they feel Capable?
do they have Confidence?
Great reminders for treating students ‘fairly’:
1. Seek to understand why the student won’t do the work (there is reason why things are happening as they are – nobody wants to be a failure!)
2. Maintain ongoing communication with the parents whose children are struggling. (as I say – a “fail” should never be a surprise)
3. Recognize it’s okay to ask for help. Sometimes talking to a student isn’t enough. (we focus on ‘team’ for a reason – take advantage of the skillsets & relationships of others that may benefit the student)
4. Ask clarifying questions – the why behind the whyne….!
5. Don’t immediately fix the problem…are your rescuing or supporting….?
and when making the tough decision to not ‘fix’ the situation then you need to ARM yourself
Acknowledge (culture of trust)
Rectify (supportive, but not every problem is yours to fix)
Move on (know when something is beyond your control)
What not to do/say/think:
“There isn’t time”
“It’s not my job”
“Dealing with challenges isn’t worth the potential negative response”
“When students behave poorly or fail to do the work, they don’t deserve my time or attention”
Try to never have a student asking “Why won’t he or she just listen to me?”
Is your culture strengths-based or a can’t-do culture (rules focused on Don’t Do’s)
Culture BUILDING reminders:
Recognize what’s going well (personal: class I’m working with is doing so much better on working together and transitions than the start of the year – confirmed by sporadic visitors to the classroom)
Change student behaviour by Changing Adult Behaviour (personal: I believe kids do what they see; if they see ‘us’ choosing to be kind or rigid….they learn that)
Reach out and Call Someone (share stories – especially good days! Helps reinforce to the family that you care and are there to help the student through good and bad times)
Key Question: Do you give up on students? And yes – saying a student needs to go to another school/program/alternate setting can be ‘giving up’ if there is not a plan for re-entry/partial days/connections)
In creating your school culture – are you an “awfulizer” or “awesomizer” – your attitude & mindset matter!
Love this mindset too: Gotta close the opportunity gap before we can begin closing the achievement gap for kids.
Are “all” kids ready to learn when you are ready to teach?
As a merchant of hope, know backgrounds – experiences may or may not excuse student behaviours but it can definitely explain it….
What is the discipline approach? If you did X then your punishment is Y?
Or personalized….. so that the student understands the consequence and knows the culture of the school still cares about them…
What to do?
1. Bring your best to work every day
2. Give two minutes of your time to one student and one staff member every day
3. Be empathic
4. Value the mistakes of others
5. Model forgiveness
6. Understand you will not always see immediate results when working with kids
7. Have high standards for all kids every day
8. Address inappropriate behaviour
9. Don’t be negative
10. Take time to smile/laugh and encourage others to have fun
Power of reflection – some thinkings to reflect on:
Doubt is a part of being an educator (I often say that educating is a career where you can feel invincible one moment and incompetent 5 minutes later….and repeat)
See your wounds and pain as a symbol of strength courage and teachable moments (what do you learn as we model resiliency – what do you learn about yourself through tough times?)
Keep going. No matter what keep going. (it is easy to want to stop – or slow down – but gotta keep looking forward and moving to where you are aiming)
Do you meet with your students?
What do they love?
If they were ‘boss’, what would they change? Why….?
and I’m being more mindful of @casas_jimmy recommendations for Home Visit Mentor Programs – reaching out to the homes and families of students to connect with the learners. Especially with many of our parents not necessarily having great school experiences themselves, coming into a school can be very challenging – as I say with mental wellness (anxiety) sometimes nothing is more difficult to walk through than an open door….
And I really like the idea of connecting with the families of the staff as well. I always like saying good things when I meet with family member face to face, but phoning their parents…..that might be a neat activity.
Some great shares of what might’ve been good to know when starting the job:
Focus on the experiences – the relationships are better remembered than the test scores
Take time to invest in yourself as much as others – don’t be afraid to have some personal time or personal learning
Stay connected – with mentors, former co-workers, expand your #PLN
Don’t jus tell them; show them – the importance of walking the talk
Don’t depend on the same teacher and leaders – spread leadership capacity throughout the learning community
Don’t let the process become the product when trying to influence change – find consensus and build from there – but build…don’t just get stuck in a democratic or autocratic process
Stop putting so much emphasis on trying to be successful – focus on what you are doing by being significant in the lives of others
Differentiation matters – for staff as well as students – not everyone is at the same place of readiness or experience – don’t expect everyone to grow at the same rate/speed regardless of their age or education experiences.
If you want to improve your relationship with others, try changing the manner in which you have those conversations. – managing difficulties requires you to manage yourself first. When others get agitated/escalated, staying calm becomes even more important.
Focus on skill sets rather than knowledge when hiring staff – bring in people with skills you need and want!
There are two ways to get in the last word – apologize and accept an apology – discipline is most effective when there is a way to make things right
Take responsibility for my own professional growth– stay focused on what you want to learn and why you are unwilling to learn some things (windows – ugh! )
Believe my words and actions can inspire others – create and be part of a culture of hope and faith that things will get better.
• Model behaviours you want to see repeated. (Want to see kindness, model kindness – want to see abrupt behaviours……)
• Cherish the conversations – don’t dwell on the problem
• Look past the workload – if you add something, what are you no longer doing?
• Gather energy from those you interact with
• Foster a sense of pride everywhere in and out of the building
• Don’t allow others to opt out of doing
• Take time to think and then follow up with action – and be mindful that not doing something is also seen as an action
• Don’t wait for others to change – we (I) are promoting personalized learning journeys for a reason!
• Keep learning from others – expand your real and virtual #PLN
• Find the right balance in “what if’s”
• Inspire people and their ideas
We cannot find ourselves accepting the status quo as the standard to meet and stay at.
Be the change you wish to see in the world!
My overall thought condenses to:
Make the culture of the school “ours” where every student and every staff feels it is “their” school! Because we are working on learning together…..!