Thursday, August 31, 2017

Not feeling it...

Started to force a post about a penny, which will eventually make the "publish".  Well maybe not...  It is a bipolar attempt at describing importance of experiences through the lens of a really beat up penny.  I found it on the ground walking down the street.

Fifteen minutes in I realized that it was just not what I was feeling.  I felt it at the moment I found the penny, but not feeling it now.  In my head that day, it was so good!  I had a whole poem written in my head, now lost forever!

How and why does this happen?

How could I have been so committed to this project 10 days ago and now barely want to read what I wrote.

I both love and hate this feeling.

I love that I have had a passion for a penny! haha! I can pivot and now write self-aware about my feelings at the time I wanted to write about the penny.  The constant is a drive to write and share my feelings to put them out.

I have developed a habit, a habit of writing, like checking email or taking the same way to work.  It makes me feel good, like working out, making my bed, or finishing a book.  No matter how long or how short, going from draft to publish is a big deal for me.  Lots in draft, and probably will always stay there, but as long as I write, I don't care if they stay their forever.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Too much today!

I did too much... And I know better, I know PD days are days.

Here is what I tried...

  • Deliver an Equity PD using a technology tool, already created. Not bad, get people thinking, although probably could have taken 20 slides out and made it better.  Even though I reviewed it 10 times, upon delivery, it did not hit the mark I was hoping.  We have all felt this! haha! 
  • Tried to confuse staff in order to build a sense of intrigue and help them understand how some of their students may feel by delivering 2 identical thoughts in 2 ways.  (one was text, the other was audio).  Wanted them to think metacognitively about this task.  What did he mean...  
  • Show the video with a confusing explanation and discussion.    
  • Discussions on collaboration vs. partner work with a twist with teachers not being allowed to talk for first 10 minutes during a collaborative exercise.  They then discussed, made decisions and some built consensus with a share out.  The importance of pre-thought was stressed for lower students in their room and how powerful this idea is.    
  • This was done in a round about way with each teacher having a job and rotating.   Confused yet...
  • Addressing the idea of "color blindness" and it's negative effects and asking teachers to take the opposite argument of the TED talk to better understand their feelings about the topic.  
  • All of this was after a sharing of who you are (each staff member) and my current, with past feelings, about who we are as a school.  I wanted them to hear from me, honestly and unapologetically, without reservation.  It was a thought out practiced presentation.  I think this was my best part of the day... My observation. This was 5 minutes total! haha! 
  • This was all done under an umbrella where I wanted teachers to be creative, reason, analyze, be metacognitive, and self-actualized with minimal comprehension and hopefully no retrieval. 
I tried to do this from 8:52 am until 11: 57 with a 10 minute break, but we did get up from time to time to share, talk, etc.  

It was too much, I am at fault.  I did not do an hour long power point, but I did jam down 5 days worth of PD in 3 hours.  

I hope that we pull these main concepts out of it:
  • We need to continue to push how students think.  Cognitive Growth.  
  • 21st Century skills are as much face to face with technology enhancements as they are technology based products.  They are a marriage.    
  • If we allow students to process some of their thoughts in advance, even just minutes, they will be better contributors to collaboration.
  • True collaboration is producing a better product, not just working together to produce something one student could do on their own.  
  • We need to not be color blind and not only recognize, but celebrate our differences.
  • We need to continue to push the #cddolphins way.  We are great, not apologetic about it, and this is okay.
  • We need to find different ways to deliver content both with technology and without, in order to get a meaningful engaged experience for students. 
Those are the main objectives.  I think my abundance of energy and ideas may have diluted them just in their magnitude as an idea, and magnitude in number.  

I will learn from this, as this is not the first time I have done this, but I really realized it today.  I wish I learned things the first time I did them.... UGHHH! 

Here is what I am happy about:

I am happy that I believe we continue to push our way of thinking.  I am happy that we continued dialogue around a common language.  I am happy that I think our mindsets are evolving.  I am happy that my staff were awesome in their participation and engagement.  I am happy that I believe people were a little uncomfortable at times and dealt with it.  I am happy that although I am not happy about the day, I am also not disappointed.  Take it in perspective, not the end of the world, but this is one of my leadership struggles and seems like a forever problem.   

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Your Face Means Something

You may be good looking, you may be not
You may be serious looking, you may be not
You may be cute, you may be not
You may be joking, you may be not

You may have thought you looked a way you did not
You may have thought you looked a way, then all for nought

You may have wished your look showed a different feeling
You may have wished your look showed a different  meaning

Your looks matter as a leader
Your looks matter for those you are leading

I do look in the mirror constantly to practice
I do look in the mirror as I know it matters

How I look sends a message every time
How I look sends a message more than this rhyme

Here are my looks, still working on them
They will evolve, I think I have about ten

This is my happy all is good in the world!

This is my, great idea, all is good!

This is my you got something, go for it.

This is my, not so sure, better think a minute.

This is my thought, as I go into contemplation.

This is my "aha", you had a great explanation.

This is my trust you, with a little hesitation.

This is my not quite understanding your idea or view?

This is my, I try to keep this one most prevalent for you.

It is important the faces we make
It is important the faces we take

It is important for those we lead
It is important for those we need

Our faces are what we dare to be
Our faces are what we want others to see

Friday, August 18, 2017

Leadership is recognizing who you are...

I wrote this in 10 minutes as a tangent... It should be kept as that... A tangent, but a thought. Not even saying I do this, but what I strive to be...

We can all be leaders, but only some can lead. By this I mean that anyone can be selected to lead, but only some can be trusted to lead.  This is a different feeling.  Those that are selected to lead, gain compliance, they gain a sense of order, but there is a ceiling.  Those that are trusted to lead, well they are never quite sure they are leading.  They are not really in control.  At least they don’t want to be, they want to guide, they want to keep normal, they want to address problems, they want to push a vision, but they are not the one.  They keep the bottom up, they keep them in check to push and show the best, they got their back.  They understand the struggle, the time, the sacrifice of good work.  The leaders are out front, they have to be, they have to be the voice, the one that pushes, but also knows when to pull back.  This is hard, it is a struggle, it is a passion, a lifestyle, not a job.  

New School Year

No one word, have many to bring
Without a trick or say what we have done

It is a wipe on the desk of life
Erase the dust, we have done a ton

We have the advantage of a reset
Beset upon us a new group that trust

Get the upgrade, we got appeal
For real, they came to a new grade

Unsigned contract to improve
Unsigned contact to prove

Time is on the forefront as it is limited
permitted to influence the young

Our next generation, our next drummers
Step up, be ready, 2017-18 is upon us

Remembering the light of my first
Thirsting for the energy of that day

May I educate, influence, inspire
Not tired, years building stuff

Ready to do, try, take a chance
Dance, maybe sing, find our why


Management can build relationships

As educators we talk about relationships... Relationships, relationships, relationships.

Get to know them, tell them about yourself, share, positive phone calls, discuss, trust, open up, favorites, two things you didn't know, my first dog's name was.... and on and on.  These are all important and should be done.

There is one other very important time, and space where relationships should be started and impression/perceptions created.

It is a simple word, one we all know.... REGISTRATION

This is when a guardian, parent, or multiple guardians and parents come to the school to fill out paper work to make sure their children can attend.  This is something that has to be done face to face.  Our process is pretty simple, but often parents are nervous anyways.

I never understood the importance of this until a year or two ago.  I now greet, welcome, shake hands, share excitement, answer questions, go on tours, share our videos on youtube, and make sure they understand that the principal of the school wants their children to be successful and is available.  I don't make it a sales pitch, as each conversation is a little different.  I just want them to get a feel for me, that is it.  If they leave with a good first impression of me, they will have a good first impression of the school.  

Now of course this is not a perfect system, I go on vacations, I am at meetings, registrations come in all the time, but I would encourage any other school leader to make sure they are notified when new registrations come in and are standing in the office whenever possible.  It is the best way to set a great first impression with new students and parents to hopefully set them up to be successful.  It is so easy, it is worth the 5-10 minutes it takes.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Power and Influence

Charlottesville showed me the difference between power and influence.  It was about 2:30 pm and my my son was watching the news with me.  He said, "why do they do that?"  His "that" meant, "fight, hurt, and hate."  His "that" was white people that look like him, then yell, scream, and fight, other people that do not look like him.  His "that" was signs that our country had reared it's ugly head again and he did not fully understand.  He knew it was wrong, he knew he should have a reaction like mine of disgust.

He needed to be given permission to be disgusted, I had that power.

He also needed to be given the words to use, he needed to be showed by a person of power over him how to feel and what to say.

He needed to be told what he would say to people who think like "that", if he ever encounters them. He needed to be given his own power over himself.  

He needed to be reminded he did not think like "that" and if he ever did, he needed to come talk to me.

He needed to be instructed if he ever needed to have a conversation with another white person and disagreed with their bigoted stance, I would support him and have his back.

I have power over him, I can control his thoughts to an extent, he loves me on a different level, I love him on a different level.  Our relationship is stronger than I have with any other male on the planet.  I know what this responsibility means to me.

Not much was said while watching the news, not much was needed.  He clearly understood where his mother and I were coming from when we responded to his "why do they do that?" question.  Without hesitation and with true conviction, there was no grey area.

It just so happened that we had a 30 minute car ride soon after watching the news. He and I rode together, just the two of us.  He had never seen news like this, he had never seen white people act with so much hatred like this.  We have talked about other situations where black, hispanic, muslim, etc. have been damaged and targeted, but never a large group that looked like him, fighting like this, with so much hatred.

This was somehow different, and he is going into 4th grade, so he is much more aware of his surroundings now.  For the 30 minute car ride, he did not talk, which is NOT like him, he stared out the window, he looked forward, he stared at me.

He was thinking...  I did not ask him about what.  I am sure a lot of it was about what he saw before we left the house.

I have power over one.

I have influence over a lot of other young people, staff, and to some extent as I go into my 4th year, the community at large.  There is a responsibility to influence them to use their power over who they are able.  This influence is not just to treat everyone with love, fairness, open arms, etc., but also to address comments, hatred, and bigotry every time they hear it.

I was forced to realize when I saw my son's reaction and our subsequent short interaction that power and influence are different.  They are so different.

I wish I had more power, I wish I could change minds, ideas, and thoughts with just my relationships and words.  I know I can influence thoughts, ideas, and minds, but only if I allow them to tell me how they are feeling and for them to ask questions like, "why do they do that?"

Allow those conversations, allow the questions, allow the feelings, then use your influence and if you are lucky, your power.  I hope that I can influence others to use their power in this way.  I hope I can influence the younger easily influenced and those that work with them.  We have to influence them now, so that when they have power, it is used the way I have chosen to use mine.      

Sunday, August 6, 2017

"Go-Getters" I disagree with the premise!

First of all, @dormanmath (Brandon Dorman) I have no issue with your tweet or it's message.  It was not yours, it was something you found and sent on its way, as I and millions of others have done.  I even think on the surface it is 100% correct.  As a person, probably like you, that see's themselves as a go-getter, "Go-Getter is No Fun" as the title suggests, drew me in!  I agree with 100% of the article.
Linked Here  to article that you would need to read to understand the following blog.  It is not that long, take the time or you will miss my point.

Then I thought.....

Wait a minute... (self-control was used as a proxy for competence) This was about half way down and I realized right away this is NOT the same thing... This was a survey study, qualitative, not quantitative in the gathering of evidence, although the evidence then became quantitative once you apply a rubric.  I get that.

Here is my opinion and it is based on this further down statement:

In a survey of more than 400 employees, they found that high performers were not only aware that they were giving more at work—they rightly assumed that their managers and co-workers didn’t understand how hard it was for them, and thus felt unhappy about being given more tasks. 

I 100% disagree with the premise of this statement.  The "Go-Getter is No Fun".  That idea is a bunch of #%^!$%&^?, that is exactly what you want.  You want more responsibility.  You want the challenging.  You want the worst. The no one else wants.  You want the problem that can't be solved!  That is exactly what you want.  These surveys serve a purpose and they don't ask, questions like; Would you not want to be involved in the systems?  Do you not want to be involved in decisions?  Do you not want to be trusted to use your talents?  Do you not want to be trusted by supervisors actions that you are the best?

Surveys and studies like this only propagate this idea that there is not a separation between work efforts and then assigned responsibilities.  There is, it is there, it is notice, it is taken advantage of.  I admit it, I am unapologetic in it.  100% of supervisors assign the toughest and most difficult to their best.  This is not rocket science, it is simple, the issue is in recognizing and appreciating it, not as the article suggests, spreading it out.  You can only spread once you have built trust, otherwise the organization does not move forward.  You then spread and build this trust by giving others tasks, jobs, problems, questions, etc. to see how they do.  You want everyone to be a "Go-Getter", but not everyone is going to be that.  They just aren't, and that is okay.  If we had 100% "Go-Getters" we would have 100% bigger problems.  We need a balance.

It has to be or else we are communists/socialists and except the idea of living in the industrial revolution of the 1900's, that we are trying to fight.  We all have talents, we all have strengths.  It is not the leader's job to spread it out, it is the leader's job to find what is right for each person.  You may do more, she/he may do less, but their job... May not be something you can do yet... That is a leader's job to determine where to push, where to pull, and where to put too much on any person or group and trust they can pull it off.

This statement: “Part of the issue is that people with high self-control are probably less likely than others to complain; they’re just likelier to ‘suck it up’ and do the extra work. But our findings suggest that they probably feel frustrated by that, and less satisfied with their relationships with others who do ‘over-rely’ on them.” 

This statement I bet if asked in the survey a different way, they would not consider many things "suck it up", but more a responsibility to further the systems that they believe in.  This does come with consequences, and they are real, but those that are willing to have "self-control" - HAHA! as the study suggested or in my opinion - kick ass mentality! are assumably understanding this.  You kick ass, not to be recognize, although you want to be, and you should be, but because that is who you are!!!

If not just cash it in, do the mediocre, you will still get paid.

The premise of the article is great and it was written in the context of a private business, which operates totally different than a school.  I wish I could compensate based on competency and work.  I can't, I have the restrictions with contracts that I have no control over.  That being said, I want to do a better job of compensating with recognition, responsibilities, control, and overall empowerment.  I hope I can.  

Saturday, August 5, 2017

A Brief History of the Future

Picture and quote from Philadelphia's Magic Garden

What is a brief history of the future?
How does that even make sense?

Does an examination of the past predict
Making you rethink your instinct to act

What if history gave us mixed results
Conventional outcomes from that which we expect

Systems or goals, techniques or targeted
Routines or dreams, simple or complicated

Is the process what really got us?
Or is it in fate we trust

Should I expect the same or not
How much time do I dedicate

No results just more to investigate
My future will be my history after I create

All these thoughts to figure out how and what to try
When really you just have to satisfy your why

Moss Glenn Falls in Vermont