This week we’ve scoured the web to bring you a snapshot of some recent articles exploring thinking around educational leadership. From building aligned teams to prioritising self-care, we hope you find something that resonates with you.
We know you’re busy. Click here to see how School Stream helps a Principal in their role or keep reading for our overview of educational leadership from around the web.
School Leadership Matters
Just as there are some who are born to teach, there are some, thankfully, who are born to lead. The proliferation of naysaying headlines and studies would have even the most confident and ambitious quaking in their boots at the very thought of stepping up to a leadership role. But school leadership matters. In fact, the New Zealand Government’s Educational Review Office found that highly effective school leadership is one of the most significant influences on student progress, wellbeing and success. So to those of you who are rising to the unique and myriad challenges of school leadership on a daily basis, we salute you.
An overview of leadership from around the web
Last month Edutopia featured a short video with Pat Ryan – a well-known tech entrepreneur and highly regarded school leader from North America. He thinks there are some things great schools and their leaders who close the achievement gap do differently. Here are some key quotes from the clip:
Spend time building teams and developing a vision
‘There is no question you want highly skilled teachers, but in practice, great schools are built by teams (that are) highly aligned… working together to achieve. If we don’t have alignment on how we want to run the school, what are the beliefs and practices that we have, then it won’t work. It’s this highly aligned team, committed, passionate, behind the right plan, executing it well.’
Build in a continuous improvement culture
‘Great schools continuously ask the question ”Is it working?”. Is our plan, the way we’re teaching, what we’re teaching, how we’re teaching it, is it working? What can we do differently next month? And what do we do to help the kids so that nobody gets left behind? If you look to get better, you can create great things where kids can achieve… whatever they’re capable of.’
School leaders must find time for self-care
Principals must find some time for self-care if they want to stay in school-leadership or, any education role in schools, for the long haul. Principals and school staff have to maintain a frenetic pace each and every term to meet the competing demands of their role, often finding themselves collapsing in a heap for two weeks of the school holidays before gearing up to do it all over again. Or as one of my decidedly non-sporty former teaching colleagues said: “I knew I was exhausted when I found myself on the couch watching the Boxing Day Test”. A recent article in The Education Review cites the importance of school leaders taking time for self-care as a preventative perspective:
‘A great analogy when thinking about self-care is the ‘oxygen mask’… In it, the oxygen mask is to be placed on ‘you’ first before assisting anyone else. Teachers and school leaders often feel guilty about looking after themselves and prioritising activities that will maintain or build their own good mental health. However, using the oxygen mask analogy shows the reason that school staff just find time to ensure that they take care of themselves first. After all, a healthy, energised, and engaged teacher makes for a healthy, energised and engaged classroom.’
Principals can find support online, as well as in real life
Finding and cultivating connection is important, especially with people who understand the demands you experience as a Principal. Other school leaders will undoubtedly be facing similar challenges and successes in their roles. Is there a possibility of meeting with leaders from other schools for a debrief? Is there an online community you can access via social platforms such as Twitter? A problem shared is a problem halved, and sometimes you just need to share experiences and hear that you’re not in it alone.