How am I going to inspire learning?
Thursday 10 August 2017
How am I going to inspire students and staff?
Before we jump into the business of a new school year - with all its hectic schedule - I find it helpful to take a step back and to think what I really wish to accomplish in the coming year.
- How am I going to ensure that I have as positive an impact on my staff and students as I can?
- How am I going to inspire students to learn and teachers to teach?
- How am I going to inspiure excellence for all who belong to the school community?
Key questions to ask myself
In his book The Principal 50 Baruti K. Kafele poses 50 self-reflective questions for leaders to ask themselves on a regular basis to check how their leadership inspires excitement, enthusiasm, energy and learning for students and staff.
I have found the following selection especially helpful.
- Do I lead with a definite purpose that drives everything I say and do? Will I walk and lead in my purpose? Will my purpose be evident to the entire school community? A person without a purpose is like a word without a definiton - meaningless.
- Do I have high standards and expectations for all of my students, and do I truly believe they they will reach them? As a leader you must believe that every single student who walks through the doors of your school can not only succeed but excel.
- Do I have a clear vision of what I expect my students to achieve? Earnestly envisioning success is more than half the battle. So what is my vision for my students - what will they achieve and how high will they soar?
- Do I see myself as the number-one determinant of the success or failure of my students? How do I hold myself accountable for this and refuse to fail?
- Do I greet my students individually as they are arriving to school in the morning? It makes them feel valued and positive. Telling students (and staff) that you are happy to see them goes a long way!
- Do I consistently strive to keep my students and teachers fired up about learning and teaching? Do I regularly use State of the School addresses to speak to students and staff together? Do I ensure that all staff feel feel valued for the work they do?
- Do I have a personal philosophy about how children learn based upon my own research and experience? As an instructional leader I need to be clear about my own underlying philosophy, beliefs and ideas in order to help teachers improve. Strategies need to be based on research and evidence.
- Do I participate in staff meetings (professional learning communities) and provide input and leadership when warranted? In this way I can show my commitment to staff and growth of the school.
- Do I spend most of my time every day observing classroom instruction? This shows that I am truly commited to student achievement and improvement. You cannot lead from your main office. Do I provide immediate feedback to my staff after observing them to enable them to grow and improve?
- Do I refuse to accept failure, make excuses for failure, or allow failure to occur in my school? Do I accept responsibility and accountability for both my students' successes and failures?
- Do I proactively plan my week to ensure success? You must plan for excellence daily.
- Do I read professional development literature on the latest research in instructional leadership? It doesn't matter how strong you are in other areas - if you are weak when it comes to instruction you have little chance of improving the scores in your school. Do I and members of my staff visit schools with successful instruntional programmes to learn from them?
All 50 Questions
Click here to access a pinterest which contains all 50 questions. Use it as an aide memoir.
Great short videos to start discussions
If Baruti Kafele's questions have excited your curiosity you may wish to visit his website here. You will be able to access some very useful youtube videos.
The following motivational videos are great stimuli to use with teachers and school leaders at the beginning of a new school year.
Messages for school leaders - senior and middle leaders:
- How do you set the mood for excellence in your school?
- What is your leadership mission?
- What is your leadership identity?
- Hey school leader, does your leadership ignite a passion for learning?
Messages for teachers:
What do you think are the most important qualities in a school leader? What do you think your staff would say?
Click here to access the article 9 qualities the most admired school leaders share. The nine qualities are:
- Trust and protect your teachers.
- Stay connected in the classroom.
- Build up your educators.
- Have teachers' backs.
- Don't play favourites.
- Hold the line on discipline.
- Respect teachers' time.
- Be accessible.
- Have high expectations for all.