Sunday, October 29, 2017

There is no keeper but the key, except for one who seizes possibilities (Patti Smith)

Photo by Amanda Sandlin on Unsplash
Just as our students have reached the end bit of their Project Based Learning, as a staff, we are now entering the final couple of weeks with our own inquiry topics.
Interesting it is, to watch staff acting like their students - agonising over instructions (too many, not enough), preparation for presentation (videoing angst, to PowerPoint or not to PowerPoint), time considerations (not enough, too much) and so on.
Funny. So many possibilities.
As Seth Godin says:
'Projects are open-ended, chosen and ours. Working on a project opens the door to possibility. Projects are about better, about new frontiers, about making change happen. When in doubt, dare'.
It's good to dare.
For the staff, inquiry presentations are also about laying themselves on the line, being open to criticism, offering change, and all that leads to over-thinking.

Projects encourage 'now' (or if not, now, 'real soon').

We have all been busy transforming our day to day jobs into how we can make our 'now' better. 

And, I love that!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Aummmmm wooo wooooo bop didit (The Beach Boys)

Groucho Marx' famous line about joining clubs aside, I belong to a Senior Educational Leadership Team or SELT for short.

We meet each term and I really enjoy the day (sometimes two) of comradeship and stimulating ideas with fellow Principals and leaders in our organisation.

What I especially love is that there is always something cooking. The current something is our timetable structure.

Exciting! Really. 

Exploring ways to minimise disruption, focus on learning time and incorporate Project Based Learning is exciting.

I've been an advocate for disrupting the timetable for a long time. For a few SELTs we have spitballed ways to do that, and now we're close to a major revamp.

The details are still being explored but what I love is our ability to put some blue sky thinking into practice.

Can't wait!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

80% of success is just showing up (Woody Allen)

I tend to wander about. I can't sit still. I got the hippy hippy shakes!

Seriously, I find it hard to settle to one task for long. Usually there are at least 3 or 4 plates spinning and so I get antsy.

Then I wander around. It helps!

It helps my thinking. As I wander, I see people and say stuff that I need to say. 

I will often go for a walk to see a student or a staff member in their room, rather than call them to the office. It gives me time to run over in my head want I need to communicate.

Wandering gives me a feel for the place. It was a lovely sunny afternoon yesterday and the feel was definitely up (too up for a few girls who couldn't get themselves to maths class).

Some limited exercise comes from all this wandering too. A routine blood test this week indicated I need to step up my wandering even more (literally).

So yeah. The old adage about management by wandering around is really a thing for me.

Sometimes, when those plates get a tad overwhelming I need to get out of the school and go for a walk. Clears my head, puts things in perspective, recharges me.

Now, where are my walking shoes? Liz (my walking coach)? Are you ready to go? 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Laugh at yesterday (The Beach Boys)

Photo by Rohan Makhecha on Unsplash
Right here, right now: first day back at school for the sprint finish to the year, Term 4. Well, for the seniors anyway. Basically they have three weeks of school and then go on exam leave.

The revision trick is all about focus. Qui Gon-Jinn's phrase is overused by me, I know, but it's so apt: your focus determines your reality.

To help focus I offer these great ideas from an Edutopia article on 'brain breaks'.

I've heard our students use this term but they regard it as a break from study and not a sharpening of their focus.

There are some great activities in the article. Read it! What have you got to lose? And you could gain some focus. 

It's within your grasp!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The sound that I'm hearing is only the sound of the low spark of high-heeled boys (Traffic)

Still on holiday and still luxuriating in the wise words from Seth Godin's Tribes.

Here he is on the discomfort of leadership:

Leadership is scarce because few people are willing to go through the discomfort required to lead.

He's right. It's not all peaches and cream! As he says:
It's uncomfortable to stand up in front to strangers. 
It's uncomfortable to propose and idea that might fail. 
It's uncomfortable to challenge the status quo. 
It's uncomfortable to resist the urge to settle. 
If you're not uncomfortable in your work as a leader, it's almost certain you're not reaching your potential as leader.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

My love is like a storybook story but it's as real as the feelings I feel (Mark Knopfler)

Seth Godin's Tribes is a treasure store house (I guess that's what a trove is).

Full of good stuff. 

As I read the mini chapter called Switching Tribes, his bit on what a seeker is really resonated with me.

His definition of a seeker:  
People who desire the feeling they get when they're part of a growing, vibrant tribe, but who are still looking for that feeling.
I'm a seeker.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today, and then one day you find ten years have got behind you (Pink Floyd)

I had a birthday yesterday, pish posh - the age is immaterial, and a number of colleagues, former and current, got in touch via Facebook.

That's pretty cool of FB (who also wished me a happy birthday btw - touching that out of all the millions on FB they should remember mine).

It (the colleagues getting in touch, not the FB remembering me thing) reminded me of a bit I read recently in This Is Where I leave You by Jonathan Tropper. 

Context - central character, Judd, is reflecting on seeing some old colleagues and saying farewell to them. 
It's quite likely that I will never see either one of them again, and the thought saddens me. They were daily fixtures in my life for the last seven years or so, and now they are gone. Or, more accurately, I am. Just like that. That's the thing about life: everything feels so permanent, but you can disappear in an instant.