I’ve mentioned before that one of the things I think that impacted my leadership last year was that I put all of the “me” things on the back burner, including my own growth as a leader. In years previous, I was very active on twitter leader chats, participating in conversations, I was more involved with my local and state leadership opportunities, and would attend several conferences throughout the year. These opportunities helped me stay connected to my PLN (aka: peer friends!), helped me stay abreast of current and emergent leadership trends, and even grounded me as an administrator.
This year, more determined than ever to not lose sight of those things that I truly think help me maintain balance, that myth that we as educators all strive for, I’ve added more to my plate. Contradictory, isn’t it? Last year taught me however that when I spend too much time on the things I HAVE to do, vs the things I enjoy or WANT to do, I am not very good at anything.
I have the privilege of having been named an ASCD Emerging Leader last year. ASCD has incredible resources to support educators overall, and in particular, those who want to GROW. They’ve been doing the ASCD Learn Teach Lead Radio podcast with BAM Radio for several months now and it’s getting extremely popular. There are great conversations with educationally centered authors on the show, and they are quick and easy to listen too. I’ve begun listening to one each Sunday as I get ready for church. All episodes can be found here. If you’re a teacher, looking for the same kinda knowledge, I can’t recommend Anglea Watson and her “Truth for Teachers“podcast enough. These are 10-15 minutes of PRACTICAL teaching advice, that both newbies and veteran educators can grow from. From genuis hour help to procrastination, she covers the #realtalk part of your world.
Professional reading can take a bad rap, but I again contend that when it’s something I WANT to read, it makes a huge difference. I blogged over the summer about what I was reading to grow, and that hasn’t stopped, even with my busy elementary fall world!
Three books you should stop and get NOW are:
- Renegade Leadership, by Brad Gustafson. The title is enough, but Brad makes me want to be a better principal. Centered in student learning, he makes it sound SO easy to also be a renegade and push the status quo. My favorite part is that he doesn’t expect you to stop ALL the other pieces that we know being a leader means…the HR side, the finance side, the paperwork side. He shows you to be a renegade in spite of all those necessary components.
- The Starter Guide to Makerspaces, by Nick Provenzano. Makerspaces are one of the things that I just don’t get. Thankfully, “The Nerdy Teacher” has written a book to help me! I definitely plan on leading my staff this Spring to a place where we can MAKE and MAKE confidently!
- ROI powers ROI: The ultimate guide to think and communicate for ridiculous results, by Michael Rose. For $9 on Amazon, you can download this book. It just makes me think differently about what I try and communicate to my people. Sometimes the WHAT loses all its importance if you don’t master the HOW. Please see #thefirstyear for more on that! This book has made me pause before I speak and that is a good thing.
Last but not least…conferences. There is such power in connecting, not only myself, but also my teachers. I sent several to go hear George Couros a week or so ago, and EACH ONE OF THEM have come in to me and asked, in different ways, how they can take a risk or lead differently. It doesn’t matter that I push them WEEKLY, it was hearing him speak that made them step up..and out. GO to a conference. SEND your people to a conference. No money? Find an #edcamp near you. On my radar for the spring/ summer?
- TCEA– Haven’t been in several years and am looking forward to presenting with Matt Arend on Snapchat in Schools, and also with him and Sanee Bell on Leadership through Failure.
- ASCD– Missed last year, and won’t make that mistake again! Early Bird rates are still available!
- ISTE- Local this year (ish!) and I’m taking a team of teachers…ISTE has come a long way with integrating academic best practices with emergent technology ideas, it’s worth attending every few years!
How do you maintain the “growth” part of your role as an educator?