I need days like today! The busyness of the work week is replaced by the quietness in my office. Days like today are filled with reviewing my Twitter, reading articles and watching video clips…and of course responding to never ending e-mails. But most important, days like today allow me to reflect on what I do as a leader, my hopes for students and my expectations of the division. It is a part of my professional learning journey that like any personal characteristic needs to be nurtured, challenged and affirmed. So what did I learn today?
The following quote came from the Learning to Inspire- Innovations for Deeper Teaching and Learning video.
“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think what we did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” – William Pollard
Superintendents are often criticized because they are always pushing the envelope and are never satisfied with the status quo. Just as so eloquently communicated by @DCulberhouse in his blog post Sailing the Stormy Seas of a Principal (Ship), modern day superintendents face equally rough and stormy seas. It often feels like each stakeholder group has one of my limbs and although they say they want the same thing, they pull in opposite directions.
When I started thinking about this blog post, I began in protective mode and was going to articulate all of our successes within our school division. Here are a few things that I would have highlighted:
Principal Sheri Thomas talking about her desire to always be back in the classroom. Home Sweet Home- The Heart of a Teacher
Principal Greg Miller talking about the importance of being connected. Our Next Engaging Project
Division Principal Lorelie Lenaour explaining our new Collaborative Peer Mentor Program in her AISI Blog- Learner Autonomy
Teacher Josh Gatner challenging our views on transformation. Transformation: A Tale of Worms and Slurpees
Or I could have just commented on the joy I witnessed at the CCH concert in the faces of choral director Danielle Christensen and band director Sarah Harmon. It was pretty easy to recognize their love and passion.
But then I go back and read William Pollard’s quote and I realize that my focus must always be on learning and innovation. It must be on preparing students for their future and not our past. We must celebrate our successes (and I probably don’t do that enough) but we must be constantly letting go of old norms in the face of new practices. Learning and innovation are created through an environment of support, encouragement and new expectations. It occurs through action!
While the superintendent will always be required to provide that environment, the action is primarily the responsibility of the staff. From the draft of the Professional Learning for Teachers Policy Framework: Each teacher shall assume primary responsibility for:
- Determining his/her professional growth needs, including self-efficacy, personal reflection and self-assessment.
- Actively seeking and engaging in professional learning opportunities.
- Completing an annual professional growth plan as outlined in the Teacher Growth, Supervision and Evaluation Policy
The Alberta advantage and in particular our Holy Spirit advantage is our work with AISI. With a singular focus of Learner Intellectual Engagement, we are able to provide support to our teachers through local, national and international professional learning opportunities, classroom visitations, grade and subject level collaborative meetings as well as various division and school based events. Teachers have the autonomy to participate in the “when, how & where” of these learning events and are encouraged to take full advantage of the wide variety of opportunties made available. With their involvement in AISI, teachers are creating their own new expectations which continually drives learning and innovation.
It is hard for me to imagine not having days like today. They are rejuvenating, re-ignite my passion and affirm why the rough and stormy seas are well worth the sail!