One of the benefits of being able to attend #empower17, ASCD’s conference is kinda getting a feel for powerhouse speakers. Ones that you know are going to be dynamic, knowledgeable, and have a proven track record for awesome. Robyn Jackson for me is one of those people. She is calm, she is clear…and she never fails to blow. my. mind.
Her session was on feedback and how to ensure that it was not only delivered The gem from today, amongst the many, was an illustration she gave on why it is SO important to give our master teachers feedback and how powerful it can be. Todd Whitaker is 100% passionate that the only way to get our school system to get better is to make every teacher like the best teacher, and how can you do that? By giving feedback that allows growth…but even your BEST teacher deserves quality feedback.
So imagine you spend the entire day in the kitchen, working on a recipe. Working so hard, giving it your best. You present the dish to your spouse, and what feedback do you get? Typically an “It was great.” or a “Don’t make that again.” Super helpful, right? So same recipe, and you give it to your nephews…and what do they say? “Can I have some ketchup, please?” They dump it all over the plate, essentially drowning out all those flavors and changing the flavor to something different completely. Now think about if you offer that same meal…to your best friend. She savors every bite…she moans and groans, “Is that rosemary? Do I taste lemon?” Her comments validate your efforts, drawing out every flavor. Then she says, “Ohhhhh….girl. You know what? What would happen if you added a dash of cayenne? That would be just a little kick!” So what do you do? You’re so excited, you remake that recipe, adding in what she suggested, just to see how it goes.
Think about the power in how to harness that to give feedback to your teachers. Do you give them all or nothing? Super generic, that deflates their energy? “I loved that lesson, you were awesome!”
Do you negate all their efforts, covering their energy and efforts with a different flavor? “I saw that you did this, yadda yadda, but have you ever thought about assessing with this instead?”
Or do you dial down, identify the greatness, pointing out the facets that made it SO powerful…and then offer one lil’tweak that ENHANCES what you saw?
If feedback is going to be what moves our teachers along their own path of excellence, being able to offer specific, genuine suggestions is going to be what you as the LEADER, not the manager, can add to the equation! Your effectiveness will then be measured in how far you can bring your staff along, versus their compliance in just doing what you’ve told them to do…and that my friends, is leadership!