Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Strength lies in differences, not in similarities (Stephen Covey)

Currently, I am leading/supporting three OneSchool Global campuses (Palmerston North, Hastings, and Gisborne) and that's a very privileged thing for me to be doing, as it provides a window into the various leadership teams in those campuses.

All are very different and all are very successful.

As well as that I have a recent memory of the Maungituroto campus (where I was Campus Principal from 2017 to 2018).

So, not counting my two campuses in England, I have knowledge and a very particular set of skills gained from experiences fronting the leadership structures in four OSG New Zealand campuses.

My over-riding take away - the leaders in all four campuses are all very different people, with different strengths, and that's why they are so good.

So, this post is a special shout out to the strong leaders in those four campuses: Mandy; Terese; Justine, Rebecca, and Sonja.

They are exceptional people who have done/are doing a phenomenal job in their roles (Junior Lead Teachers or Learning Leader in Sonja's case) and I have learnt a lot from each one by observing their very different leadership styles. 

They certainly provide superb evidence to back up Covey's point.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice (Steve Jobs)

Recently, I've had some experiences where I've had occasion to replay some scenes from my recent past in my head.

I Googled 'public recognition versus inner satisfaction quotes' and that Steve Jobs one came up first.

Seems I needed a wise quote to restore some balance and boy, oh boy - does Steve Jobs sum it up well!

Monday, February 15, 2021

It's easier to learn than your ABC's, so come on, come on, do the locomotion with me (Little Eva)

Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

Out of 16 New Zealand OneSchool Global campuses in 2020, the two campuses I am Principal of (Gisborne and Hastings combined) had the best NCEA pass rates.

Amazingly, 78% of our combined Year 11 to 13 students gained a merit or excellence pass.

That is some feat. All of the staff at my campuses have a share of that glory, as do zoom teachers from outside of my campuses.

We celebrated (briefly) and moved onward. We're motivated.

We want to do better in 2021. We're aiming for 79%! 

With the NZ wide change in resubmissions policy (only not achieved grades can gain a resub) that will be tricky. Not impossible, tricky.

How do we accomplish that?

James Clear has a brief guide to improvement. I love less-is-more!

Here 'tis:
1) Lots of research. Explore widely and see what is possible.

2) Lots of iterations. Focus on one thing, but do it in different ways. Refine your method.

3) Lots of repetitions. Stick with your method until it stops working.

Research. Iterate. Repeat.

I'm with him for 1) and most definitely for 2) and I'm not too sure about 3).

At the moment I'm all about one and two anyway, three can wait.

Part of the research phase is my own Teacher Inquiry into what motivates students. 

I'm currently at the thinking and design stage of this project.

I'll keep you updated.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Optimism is the one quality more associated with success and happiness than any other (Brian Tracy)

Photo by Nate Isaac on Unsplash

I'm an optimist. Although I'm not an OTT perkiness personified optimist, just having a generally rosy outlook can annoy some people. I get that.

But I can't help who I am.'ll have to take the crunchy with the smooth.

Part of that optimism is my belief that people are doing the best they can in any given situation; it's important for me to be compassionate and generous. The alternative leads to the dark side.

Being a Libra is helpful. In my position I need the ability to listen to differing points of view with a great deal of patience. Phew!
Libras have a pleasing manner and are acutely sensitive to what is proper and appropriate in dealing with others. This allows them to give difficult feedback, communicate sensitively, and say the right thing to preserve a relationship.
The phrase I tend to use a lot with staff and students is Stephen Covey's seek first to understand. It's a great way to open those difficult conversations because it signals the intention to listen and the upshot is by listening I can bust assumptions. 

It's amazing how many times an event seems open and shut but then when the seek first to understand method is employed, the event becomes easily explainable.

Once, while a Deputy Principal, I was engaged by a neighbouring school to investigate a serious student complaint. It seemed to all and sundry like an open and shut case but when I talked to the student a completely alternative picture emerged. All I did was listen.  

Seek first to understand.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Making progress

Photo by Lindsay Henwood on Unsplash

"The challenge for anyone interested in making progress is to simultaneously have (1) the confidence to go after what you want and (2) the humility to accept who you are right now and (3) the willingness to build skills that bridge the gap between 1 and 2."

James Clear

Monday, February 1, 2021

Connection, I just can't make no connection (The Rolling Stones)

Photo by Vivaan Trivedii on Unsplash

Every time you think of calling a kid ‘attention-seeking’ this year, consider changing it to ‘connection-seeking’ and see how your perspective changes.

Dr. Jody Carrington