Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Teaching in the New Media Age

Mark your calendar! William Kist, author of The Socially Networked Classroom: Teaching in the New Media Age and The New Literacies, will join West Clermont for two workshops for teachers and administrators. Join us August 17 at the Union Township Civic Center, Cincinnati.

For teachers 5-12: 8:30 to 11:30 am: Teaching in the socially networked classroom.
For administrators: 12:30 to 3:30 pm: The new literacies: 21st century skills in our classrooms.

For information:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Leadership is Teaching

This is a repost from my first article on Ken Royal's Educators Royal Treatment at Scholastic. Feedback and comments welcome! M.E.

Leadership is Teaching

I love my work.

Last week, Jeff Goldstein (@doctorjeff) posted this provocative tweet: “Shouldn't it be joyful employment? Shouldn't that be THE goal?” As I recall, he was talking about the goal of schooling.

But I was stunned by the juxtaposition of those two words: joyful employment.

And it got me to thinking about why on earth I love working as a district administrator. After all, change is messy. You can’t please everyone. Bureaucracy abounds. There are no summers off. Nonetheless.

I get to teach. Every single day.

I remember when I first read James McGregor Burns definitive work Leadership. “Leaders shape and alter and elevate the motives and values and goals of followers through the vital teaching role of leadership,” he claimed. I leaned forward in my chair. Yes! I thought. This is exactly what I love about my work.

A decade ago I had the opportunity to work with coaches from the Change Leadership Group (CLG) at Harvard. Our district was a beta site for the CLG’s early work in building capacity in school leadership teams to move from school re-formation to school trans-formation.

I was fascinated to watch our CLG leaders at work. Their leadership reminded me of how I thought good teaching looked. Whenever I practiced what I they preached, it always felt like doing my best teaching. Eventually, this led me to formal research—and lots of informal observations—of good teaching and good leading. Really, they’re much the same, aren’t they?

So as long as I get to teach (almost) every single day, that’s joyful employment.

Like good teachers, good leaders:
Build trust
Form community
Clarify expectations
Break tasks into manageable chunks
Promote dialogue
Ask provocative questions

Good teachers and leaders use processes that help others to consider, connect, and reshape their thinking. They’re change agents. Simply put, they help us change our minds.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

R & R

It is summer break. This is my hammock. I plan to nap in my hammock on lazy, warm days. My Blackberry will be inside of my house, recharging. I will be outside in my hammock, doing the very same thing.

Relax and recharge: now that's the kind of R & R I'm looking for. And you need it, too. But don't take it from me...

Ingrid Bergman: "The best way to keep going is to keep going at whatever it is that keeps you going. With me, that's work, and a lot of it. And when a job is finished, relax and have fun!"

Ovid: "Take rest. A field that has rested gives a bountiful crop. What is without periods of rest will not endure."

Ernest Hemingway: "I still need more rest in order to work at my best. My health is the main capital I have and I want to administer it dilligently."

Karen Brademeyer: "Who among us hasn't envied a cat's ability to ignore the cares of daily life and to relax completely?"

Leonardo DaVinci : "Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen."