New Learning

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Dave Pugh
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Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2016 1:41 pm

New Learning

Postby Dave Pugh » Wed Apr 20, 2016 5:21 pm

The thing that both excites me and scares me about my new job: I will need to learn how to effectively lead a group to change. It excites me because as I've shadowed colleagues I've seen how some schools are responding and getting excited about moving ahead in a positive direction. I have learned already that one thing done well and with commitment from an entire staff can be huge. There are people around me who are experienced in guiding building teams through change and come out not as the enemy but with staff who are empowered and encouraged. I want to be able to do that. It will be hard to learn, but I'm excited about the opportunity.

It scares me because I also see schools that have dug in their heels and really aren't trying. More often it looks to me like the teachers are interested in making changes but the principal is holding back. Which means that after I learn how to help a willing team through change I will have to learn how to help an unwilling principal help a willing team through change. And then what if I need to lead an unwilling principal to lead an unwilling staff through change.

I heard today that part of our deal with MDE is that we have to be on site at the focus schools for 8 hours each month. I'll have 6 schools, so that is just over one week's time. I'm guessing some schools will get the minimum while others get more.
HeatherLyke
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2016 7:01 pm

Re: New Learning

Postby HeatherLyke » Sun Apr 24, 2016 9:35 am

I wrote a long, beautiful response to this but when I hit "submit" my words disappeared.

Here is the "Sparks Notes" version of what I typed before (I don't have time at the moment to recraft it idea by idea):

(1) You are scared because you are human. Starting something new surfaces in most of us feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, and fear. So, acknowledge those feelings and then move beyond them. You have skills--you know you do--so shift your focus onto them.

(2) You are worried about the idea of fostering change in others, but you've done this before. Think about the project-based math program at ALC, the new Science courses RPS is working on creating, and all of the math teachers in the district who are trying new ways of teaching math. Um, Dave: this was all change that you fostered. There is no need to worry about a skill you already have.

(3) You're apprehensive about working in schools that are resistant to change and/or that have leaders who are resistant to change. Again, Dave, this should be nothing new to you. What you've described here is the high school on the hill, and to a degree the middle school that sits in its shadow: in both of these places you started to foster change, it just wasn't as systemic as it was in other buildings. In these resistant to change buildings, sometimes you have to work with those who see the light at the end of the tunnel and hope that others will eventually see it too. Remember, some flowers grow with little maintenance: you just sprinkle some seeds and walk away--other flowers need more time, more water, better soil, some kind words...but eventually a few buds will surface. (Sorry about the double metaphor there.)

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