November 8, 2012

Day 8 - #Blogathon - No Office Day

Today was one of my "Best Days" as a principal.  No, not "THE" Best Day, but one of them and I am glad that I have had much more than one.  See, today I took a "No Office Day."  This was an idea that I gleaned from a good friend on Twitter.  I actually heard about it first from Bill Burkheard ( @NormandinBill ) via his post on Twitter back in September.  He referenced a blog post of his first week as the principal of his new school.  Bill is a leader I respected even though I had been a building leader prior to his first assignment.  Why?  Because he completely understood what is needed in a leader.  Like Bill I was a firm believer in leadership being about "People not Programs."  This is a little phrase stolen from Todd Whitaker, but I have never known a truer statement.  

So as I sat in my office last week, dealing with the 3rd student sent to the office, finishing up a data analysis chart, adjusting schedules for the Middle School students new electives, signing purchase orders, time cards, responding to e-mails, approving conference requests, and getting back to parents that left messages, I finally remembered why I went into teaching in the first place......I loved working with kids.  Why did I go into administration?  Because I loved working with teachers, and I knew I wanted to improve education so kids would love learning even more.  I decided right then and there to take the advice of Dwight Carter and Lyn Hilt and decided to get out of my office and into the building.  

Sure, I have been out in the classrooms this year, but I felt like my visits have been 2-3 minutes at the most and that there were squeezed in where I could find time.  So I wanted to commit to a day that I could get into almost all of the classrooms, could watch a little longer chunk of a lesson, take some photos of the kids in action and hopefully talk with them without interrupting teaching.  It was AWESOME!!! I did not make it into all of the classrooms, but I did get into most of them.  Why not all?  Well, to be honest I was having fun watching the lessons and interacting with the kids.  I took some great photos of the many lessons I witnessed and shared many of them on Twitter today.  I had some great talks with the kids, was able to hear some great learning and thinking with our Middle School kids and received tons of hugs from my K-2 students (yeah I still love those).  I will find a way to get out tomorrow and see the other classrooms I missed today and some of the specials classes I didn't get into.  Tomorrow is "Nerd Day" for the Middle School kids, so I told them I would dress like I do every day to play the part, and then I get to go and supervise the Middle School Dance.  Should be a day that ends with quite a few smiles and laughs I think.  

While I know there has been many shifts in education, some great, some scary, there is one thing that remains the same.  Learning has always been about engagement, and engagement becomes so much easier when there is a positive relationship within the parties involved.  That is what I saw going on today.  Teachers committed to positive relationships with their students.  I hope those same teachers understand, that is why I came around today as well.  I want to ensure that I have those same positive relationships with my staff.  How can they grow and learn from me, if they do not know me....if they don't trust me.....and if they don't see me.  It really was a great day, and I will have to find a way to make it happen more often.  

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