Saturday, November 13, 2010

Job Description

After spending the last 14 years in administration at the building level, this year moves me into a district view.  I have loved the opportunities that I have had in a HS, and I believe that the job I did was a good one that benefitted students.  In short, I'm proud of what I have done, what my educators have done, and what my students have accomplished.

In my fifteenth year, my focus has changed.  Although the opportunity to lead is still there and the challenges of that opportunity are still invigorating, the vantage point has changed a bit.  What I use to do well and had a comfort with has now become new, unsure, clouded, and unfamiliar.  Normally that is exceptionally refreshing for me.  This is, to a degree, similarly refreshing.  The part I was not expecting was that the challenges are so different from what I have done that it has been hard to keep up.  The support here has been outstanding, and I am so very proud to be working with and for this community.  My desire to be as good as I can be, however, causes me to be concerned when I fall short of my own expectations. 

There are days that I long to return to the principalship and feel a comforting level of security in my capabilities.  Then there are other days that I am thrilled with the challenge and believe that I'm doing an acceptable job so far.  My expectations include my personal improvement and continued learning and experience to be able to provide leadership for this district and the students and community that we serve.



Tina said...

Abraham Lincoln went through a trasition in his job as well. Yes I know he went from lawyer to President but transition is transition and who better to take guidance it comes.
The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next. (Boy does that not say what professional educators do is so important)
Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle. (Continue on the steady path if educational leadership)
I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end ( 15 years of experience is important in tackling new challenges)
If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening my ax. (Just think this is a good strategy for any new situation,)
Enjoy the challenge!

Scott McLeod said...

Did I mention how excited I am that you're now in a district-level leadership position? Do great things!

dkeane said...

If anyone can adapt to new people, a new environment and new responsibilities, it is you.
I think that in your district you will still have the opportunities to work with not only adults, but students as well. Your ability to keep your focus on students is what has and will continue to make you a successful educator.

Marshall said...

One of the benefits of blogging is the positive support that can be received from colleagues. It's more than information, debate, and discovery. It's the ability to maintain connections to those out there that lift spirits in time of need. Thanks to all three of you for your confidence and uplifting comments.

Mike Thompson, Principal said...

No doubt about it; more often than not it’s the kids in the driver’s seat when it comes to navigation in a web 2.0 world. Earlier this week at the SAI breakfast in Clear Lake, I listened to a tech presentation by Scott’s colleague, Jamie Fath. Jamie echoed Scott’s message earlier this year with the full B-K staff; in short – change or die (I recall a PowerPoint slide with that slogan in Jamie’s talk). It seems we’re all on the verge of becoming dangerously irrelevant. Here’s my problem though….. Besides myself, there were 5 other principals sitting around the table during Jamie’s presentation. Afterward we were discussing the role technology plays in their buildings and districts – some were talking about their plans for 1-1; others were discussing the impact (or more accurately, headache) of social networking in regards to the day-to-day administrative fires that need to be put out. As the principal of a SINA school, my thoughts turned instead to phrases like “adequate yearly progress” and “annual measurable objectives.” The irony for me as an instructional leader of a school with two identified subgroups is that the “change or die” message itself seems dangerously irrelevant (sorry, couldn’t resist) when the only measure of my effectiveness when it comes to leading school changes rests with two, 40-minute tests on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. Assuming you can get past the fact that the test has not been re-normed in 10 years, and assuming you’re okay with the thought that approximately 2 of the 1440-hour school year is the evaluative snapshot that determines SINA, and IF you can get past the fact that the test itself is designed to sort a population of students high vs. low via a Bell Curve even though the expectation is that ALL students will be proficient…….. even if we could somehow stomach all of that ……… the reality is that the test itself is still basically given in the same format as it was in 1935 when it was called the Iowa Every Pupil Test of Basic Skills. Where’s the Twitter feed on the Reading Comprehension portion of the ITBS? Where’s the peer-to-peer interactivity when it comes to Math Total without Computation? How much sense does it make to be working in a web 2.0 world one day and stepping back in time 75 years the next during ITBS week? Sometimes I find it very difficult to get my staff motivated to dig into new technology when we all know that next week I’m meeting with my SINA team to discuss how we can raise scores on our Spring ITBS. In spite of teachers engaging students with technology-based higher order thinking skills, it just seems like there’s a real disconnect and finding a way to bridge that gap gets more and more difficult as another year goes by and we’re still on “the list”. I know, I’ve heard it a hundred times…. The beast that has become NCLB is all more of a legislative frustration than one of school policy. I guess my question is, “When are politicians going to start becoming dangerously irrelevant???”

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