BetterEducate.com

ENSL Day 3 Reflections

  Posted by Elizabeth Bell for BCPVPA
140 2
Jul 08/20 1:06pm

In light of your context and current times, consider and reflect on how the action statements below and what you learned today will influence your leadership in the new school year. Identify one burning question you have. Review the reflections of others and feel free to respond!

 

Action Statement: Develop an inclusive and collaborative culture.

Action Statement: Understand and reflect upon self-management and self-awareness

Action Statement: Manage time, set priorities and meet deadlines – effectively balance your role and your well-being.

Action Statement: Create an inclusive school and recognize the values of diversity.

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49 Responses

Jul 08/20 2:26pm

 Action Statement: Understand and reflect upon self-management and self-awareness

I appreciated the confirmation that self-care is not selfishness, and the recognition that if we do not take care of ourselves, we cannot take care in leading and learning.  This reminds me of the oxygen reminder for process in taking care, EVERY time we fly!  My instinct is to get oxygen to my children first but in understanding the importance and necessity in this message, I know I must follow it (but will need reminders along the way).  Five second yes or no, built in time for reflections and blue sky, self-regulation awareness, and being present and connected are only a few of the myriad of incredible ideas shared today.

Heading into September, I must value care of self and recognize this important piece of leadership when wanting to meet the needs of staff, students and community. I recently experienced renewed awareness that staff do notice how I treat myself in regards to self-care. Therefore, when I circle back to the notion, "if we do not take care of ourselves then we cannot take care of others" I must take it another step further.  Through positive modelling, connection and clear messaging, my teachers need to see that we value in them the need for balance and self-care as well as ourselves.  Without this felt freedom to prioritize self-care, they may not as effectively experience and lead learning for self and others. 

I enjoyed the article "The DNA of Development" and the framework for the ways of knowing.  Reflecting on the Constructive Development Theory and understanding the different stages of "knowing", is a gem on perspective taking and understanding.

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Jul 08/20 6:52pm

Great capture of our session today Jodi...it is so important to ensure we take ourselves in order to provide oxygen to those we work alongside

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Jul 08/20 5:36pm

Today was wonderful, uplifting, and caused me to pause and challenge my own thinking, and priorities~ so, thank you to the presenters for helping me grow.  I am reflecting on the importance of creating balance and boundaries for my wellbeing which will allow me to support others more effectively.  Today reinforced my belief that everyone has a story to tell and life lessons we can all learn from, which highlighted the importance of authentic listening to promote a collaborative culture where all voices are heard and valued.  Together we will go further. 

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Jul 08/20 4:54pm

I like to combine ideas and synergize, so how convenient that all of today's reflection starters are related. Consider an inclusive and collaborative culture: if it is to be diverse, it is incumbent on the members to share their voices. I do not mean to suggest that it is a good idea (or good-form) to criticize staff for not speaking up, but it is worth the effort to front-load the message that while I may be an ally, I cannot possibly represent everyone's interests as well as they themselves. In this way, my personal time management is on the line if I fail to instil this ethos, of people speaking authentically for themselves. I cannot have an environment where collaboration leads to equitable delegation without the buy-in that accompanies self-advocacy. Self-advocacy leads to openness when genuine solutions are offered, and if I can model strong time-management, priority-setting, and awareness as solution approaches, then I can raise the efficiency of my whole staff. This is, rather selfishly, how I plan to make my work environment a safe place to confidently cruise at 70-80%, and to allow my staff to do the same, because burnout is an exacerbated issue in micro-districts like ours.

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Jul 08/20 5:57pm

Shortly after the day concluded, I came across these words from a Principal I know from a neighboring district. "I have always believed that the mark of a truly effective principal and leader is not that the school or organization struggled after his departure, but that it flourished." I think this speaks to the importance of school culture. As leaders, when we are a part of sculpting a healthy, positive culture, the people within the school should continue to push forward with their own learning long after we have left. Personally, I know that I can get impatient because I want change and progress to happen quickly. Today's reminder about the importance of listening, patience and time, were an excellent reminder for me that we are in this for the long haul. Rather than celebrating quick fixes we've brought in, we should be celebrating the baby steps we are seeing others take that are evidence of a stronger culture.  As leaders, regardless of our roles or the context we lead in, we should aim to leave it better than we found it.

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Jul 08/20 10:20pm

Thank you for sharing this principal's quote, Aaron. It is the foundation, not the shiny paint on a house that matters. Taking the time to build thoughtfully helps ensure a legacy after we leave.

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Jul 08/20 6:10pm

Today's topics and action statements resonated with me. I am deeply appreciative of the amount of time that was devoted to the topic of self care. Often this is brought up but we don't get the chance to delve into it. The presenters did a wonderful job of sharing their own self care journeys with us. In the March BCPVPA issue of Mette Boell wrote, "To sustain our capacity to lead complex systems requires us to live in self care, rather than setting aside time for self care."

Thank you as well to the many, many resources that were shared on the topic of equity. What a treasure chest!

I am currently working as an elementary VP in a site that was a former middle school. I am struggling with making a warm and welcoming environment from something that does not physically represent a warm and welcoming environment in a traditional elementary way. I know that the initial sense people may get when entering the school does not represent the shared culture of the staff and students. This is my project for next year!

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Jul 08/20 6:43pm

Today was fantastic! So many valuable resources and tools! As I embark upon this new journey as a VP I will have to review, reread and continue to use the resources and many skills that were discussed today. I have always known that self- management and self-awareness are critical to teaching but I will have to be increasingly mindful of this in my day-to-day interactions and relationships as VP. It was supportive to hear that "self-care is not selfish" and that "vulnerability and leadership go hand-in-hand." I suspect the being vulnerable will be challenging for me and I will need to focus on the many skills discussed today. My summative notes included:  Listen, Prioritize, Blue Sky Time and Breathe.  

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Jul 08/20 7:47pm

Action Statement: Develop an inclusive and collaborative culture.

"Only connect." E.M. Forster

I have lived and breathed inclusive culture building at my school and in my community. I will strive not to forget what it is like to be a Learning Support Teacher and advocate for those whose perspectives may have been overlooked. I will unpack my bias and strive to listen mindfully.

Action Statement: Understand and reflect upon self-management and self-awareness.

It will take significant time to develop the schema and procedural memory for the myriad tasks of this multifaceted role.  I will strive to be gentle with myself as I learn. In my worst future imaginings I am always alone. This is faulty thinking because I am joining an exceptional, well established, supportive administrative team. I will strive to stay in the present and access the community care I require to care for myself.

How can one listen mindfully to the complex concerns of one's school community without being consumed?  I think now that the answer lies with seeking help from others and I am grateful for the suggestions of how to meet this essential need. Coaches and counsellors make sense to me. I will strive to follow through on this (even though it seems like another thing...)


Action Statement: Manage time, set priorities and meet deadlines – effectively balance your role and your well-being.

A wise administrator once told me his goal of touching things once- no I'll do this later or I'll pile this here until I get to it. I think I'll be glad I listened. I will have to work very hard next year- starting my Master's, two kids in high school, teaching new courses. Booking blue sky time first must be my goal if I am to thrive.

Action Statement: Create an inclusive school and recognize the values of diversity.

A thought about equity:

Image result for Toni Morrison Power Empower QUOTE


I am excited to engage with the "third teacher". What artifacts are in our school that communicate what we value? Who is represented and seen? This is change that is easy to get excited about! 

Thank you for a thoughtful day. I am so grateful to learn from the exceptional women in my breakout group and the brave wise facilitators.

 



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Jul 09/20 8:51pm

I really like that quote Heather! πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

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Jul 08/20 7:48pm

Action Statement: Manage time, set priorities and meet deadlines – effectively balance your role and your well-being.

This action statement resinated with me as I have worked in this area as a teacher and realize the importance of continuing to focus on effectively balancing my role and my well-being.  I have worked this past year on placing the big rocks (the blue sky) in my week first, what is important in my personal life, well-being as well as my professional life and then add in the small rocks and the sand - the things that need to be done but are not as important.  I created my weekly schedule each Sunday and celebrated when I completed or participated in all the big rocks.  Life did alter during the pandemic but I realized the added importance of 'blue sky' during this time and was diligent about walking home from work everyday.  Much of my understanding of taking care of one-self comes from the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey but I have realized how important it is to review, reflect and renew my intentions on a regular basis so that I can continue to grow into my leadership role.

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Jul 09/20 7:51am

Margo, what a great plan/system you have for prioritizing and looking after yourself. Thank you for sharing!

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Jul 08/20 7:51pm

Today gave me a lot to think about and a tonne of information that I will have to come back to more than once to fully absorb.

Action Statement: develop an inclusive and collaborative culture. 

I found Dr. Edward's analogy of us viewing ourselves as anthropologists interesting. To study, observe and note what we see, and compare our observations against what we know at our own core (and recognize the pre-existing biases). Do we to see the differences ( which is also linked to another action statement to follow). What do we observe regarding about our school's culture of "the pedagogy of the hallway" and our learning environments that are provided?

Action statement: understand: understand and reflect upon self-management and self-awareness.

I had the realization of today is that my homework this summer before heading back for the fall is to do some deep reflection to figure out what my core values are, what my triggers are and what unfulfilled needs I have that lead to habitual behaviours (usually conveniently during times of stress or conflict!). 

Now the big burning question is how will I make changes appropriately and in a well-balanced manner to form healthy habits!

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Jul 08/20 8:11pm

Action Statement: Develop an inclusive and collaborative culture.

 The word that I continue to circle around is visibility. What does it mean to truly make everyone visible in our community? When we use words like inclusion and equity, it is interesting to listen to the personal definitions of the people in the room. For some, it means simply giving everyone what they need while for others, it pertains to a specific group of people. My hope is that we continue towards a collective definition of this word so that we can align our actions with our beliefs and values.

 

In our small group, I was reminded of the power of story. Listening to the experiences (which are all various degrees of different from my own) really illuminated how we all come 'to the table' with our own unique perspective, background, and world view. Stories are powerful. Stories stay with us. Stories are lessons. This is no better exemplified than in the book 'Potlatch as Pedagogy' by Robert and Sara Florence Davidson. Their collective story has stuck with me since I read it earlier this year. I can recall the elements of the story and the powerful learning that is attached to all of those pieces. It was personal, emotional, and compelling.

 Often, it can be simple to think of inclusion from an action perspective. What do we do? Yet, I would like to pose that we could be better served by first looking inwardly. What are our own biases and blind spots? I connect this with Liz's 3 R's from day 1. How we react to situations and events is information. How we reflect on these events and our reactions can be illuminating. How we respond after this internal work can be powerful.

 

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Jul 08/20 8:45pm

Riley, thank you for sharing this reflection. I agree; your question asking what it means to truly make everyone visible in our community needs clarity and agreement. Once we are aligned in our understanding and actions, imagine the powerful and collective impact educators will have.

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Jul 08/20 8:49pm

I appreciated the wealth of information shared by the presenters and my group mates/ facilitator. The gems that stand out for me in the discussions around Cultural Leadership (Standard 7) are:

1) the necessity of being clear on my core values

2)being willing to listen to and build on the strengths of staff

3) Jamie's point that my job is to have a vision for the school's direction; relationships are essential, but they are not sufficient in making improvements for students. 

With the presenters of Standard 5 (Metacognitive Capacity), I appreciated that each had come to understand their own needs/ ways of meeting them (breathing/ regulation, coach/counsellor, having a clear daily focus). I'll need to intentionally set limits for myself and maintain enjoyable and healthful practices in my free time. 

I loved the narrative style of Darren's introduction to Interpersonal Capacity. I was moved by Mark's phrase, "If you can't connect to #Metoo, Black Lives Matter, or Truth and Reconciliation..., you have work to do." In our group, we each gave a different example of working towards equity in our schools. The diversity of our passions was fascinating. 

I'm very much looking forward to tomorrow!

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Jul 08/20 8:50pm

I really appreciated how thoughtful today was planned out, there were so many layers that allowed us to dive deeper into our core values, and understand who we are as leaders. Moreover, I continue to value the meaningful time that I have with my small group, and being gifted those opportunities to share, listen and learn with/from them. For me personally, I learn best through listening to stories of lived experiences, ones that I can find and make connections with, and today was just that. The authenticity behind all of the personal stories from our PVP Panelist were very moving and inspiring, and really touched my heart. I loved that the morning started off by focusing on ourselves, on self-care, and how important it is to take care of ourselves before others. The latter half of the morning really captured the essence of creating an inclusive school, one that recognizes and values diversity/equity, and how we can foster that culture from within. This circles back to understanding/developing a positive school culture within our learning community, and really setting the time aside to listen, observe and just be in the learning spaces. Thank you to Mark for sharing that learning environments/spaces should be seen as a third teacher (what are we seeing?), and that cultures are β€˜artifacts’, it’s all around us. It has been such a powerful day, and I am very grateful to be engaging in these rich discussions with everyone – truly inspired.

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Jul 08/20 9:23pm

Thank you for your words Isabella. When we conceived of this program and format, we hoped that it would provide a small spark for the participants. It seems it has for you and in that I am delighted. Our province is in the very good hands of reflective practitioners such as yourself. Thank you for learning with us.

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Jul 09/20 4:36pm

Thank you, Liz. Appreciate your kind comments. Yes, this week has definitely sparked something pretty special, and for that, I am again, very grateful. Appreciate all the planning it has taken to create such an elaborate program. Many thanks!


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Jul 08/20 9:09pm

The overarching theme for me today was listening. 

Listening to students for the things that they value about their school, if their voices are being heard and their learning needs are being met. 

Listening to staff in order to determine the culture of a school and how that culture aligns with my values.

Listening to parents to better understand their beliefs and values around the culture of the school.

Finally, listening to myself and what I need to stay strong and healthy so that I can continue to lead with integrity.

Thank you for an interesting day!

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Jul 08/20 9:29pm

I feel very fortunate to work in a school community that values diversity, in inclusive and is supported through the collaborative efforts of all of our staff. In the coming school year I hope to continue to build on this culture by accessing the many strengths of our staff and school community (teaching, EA, counselling, OT, indigenous ed., parents and admin assist).

Items from today's discussions that were a good reminder/ guide for me included finding an agreed upon definition/ description of our actual school culture and identify the artifacts that support that. Making culture building a staff wide goal and devoting time to the process regularly vs. once in a while. Could I build a "culture check" into my regular staff meetings and in our digital shared space so reflecting on school culture becomes an easy to act on priority?

I feel like I have a good handle on work/ life balance that has been hard won over many years in my various roles. I use calendars/ agendas and to-do lists very consistency to cut down on lost time. I try to work in a "single task vs. multi-tasking" way whenever possible so I cut down on the time I spend returning to a partially completed task. I appreciated hearing that this strategy was also mentioned by one of our panel speakers today. I also keep a reflection file on how various processes I oversee have gone. During COVID related changes in our normal operations this is very important. I'd like to continue working with my colleagues to learn from 2019/20 experiences so we can improve our practice in whatever the coming school year brings. 

I think a burning question might be how much of the virtual platform work we did this year, out of necessity, could be/ will be incorporated into my practice moving forward? There is an efficiency advantage in some areas to be sure.


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Jul 08/20 1:56pm

My favourite day so far -- relational leadership speaks to my heart.  One area that resonated with me today was the importance of creating a connection to one's physical environment.  A challenge I have given myself is to enhance the entrance of the school and make it a more welcoming space.  I want teachers to be excited about coming back to work in September, as there will be residual trauma, and fear -- want to make the space a more cheery place to come to everyday.  I am also questioning in other ways how I can help staff members through the trauma and fear... I am open to other suggestions and ideas.

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Jul 08/20 3:58pm

Thanks Kym. One of the most powerful processes I have been involved in on a staff was led by the teacher of our Indigenous Kindergarten class. At our opening staff meeting to start the year she led a talking circle and asked the staff to share why they decided to go into teaching. While eye-opening and emotional for all involved, it was a great way to set the stage for the coming year. It provided a platform for those of us who were comfortable to declare to the group the 'why' of the work that we do. While it is potentially a high-risk/high-reward activity it may be worth considering something similar to allow teachers to talk about their concerns, but also their hopes for the coming school year.

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Jul 08/20 2:26pm

Action Statement: Develop an inclusive and collaborative culture.

As I reflect on today the pieces that stand out to me are: listening deeply and shifting change through a positive school culture. Before today I have been thinking, β€œHow can I do this?”. Notice the β€˜I’ in that question, I was thinking inwardly -  focused on myself as the catalyst for change and not the team. I have come to the realization that while I will play a part, it is only with a team that change can occur. That involves nurturing school capacity. The collective capacity in our staff can be fostered in multiple ways: mentorship, professional development, and parent/ student voice. I will continue to think about school capacity in September.

The second important part of today that stuck with me was the idea of distributed leadership. It is important to share leadership responsibilities with staff members, empowering them to share in the decision-making. When people feel they have a stake in the direction of change, they will feel more invested in the outcome. In terms of promoting inclusion - asking myself, "When one voice it being heard, whose voice is being left out?"

My burning question - As an administrator how can you ensure you don't overlook the quiet voices and contributions? How do you balance the airtime of the loud and effervescent personalities with the people who are more withdrawn?

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Jul 08/20 4:06pm

Great question. A big part of a leader's responsibility is to create concensus where there is divisiveness.. That does not mean that an initiative or a problem is addressed through the unanimous approval of the group. Rather, it means that the will of the group is evident. Finding the time to ensure you understand the will of the group involves creating opportunities and avenues for the more introverted members of your staff to share their thoughts with you.

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Jul 08/20 2:27pm

I loved the statements shared about time management today. I have found that as a teacher there were days where I invested all my energy in "time robbers": socializing about non-school related things, allowing myself to be distracted from my tasks, taking too much time to beautify objects/projects that are perhaps of less significance (trim around newsletters, finding funny caption statements or images ,,,). I will hold onto Brett's words,"Be deliberate in focus. Conscious allocation of time will bring a better sense of balance to the demands of this work. Focus on important more than urgent and LET THINGS GO!! I also loved hearing that even in advance stages of practice there is a need for coaching, collaboration and daily reflection- the speakers today truly model through their actions the idea of "life long learning".  

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Jul 08/20 2:39pm

As with the previous days, there is a LOT to unpack today.  Creating time and space to unpack/reflect upon/action content from today stands as a reminder about how important that will be to my work next year and in years to come.  I have to see it as an investment in intentionality/focus rather than just another task to add to the list.  We spoke in our small group about creating norms and boundaries for our working lives that will sustain us for the long term.  This is the perfect time to consider how I will be the kind of colleague/leader/model/coach I want to be.  To plan how I will prioritize my time, how I will carve out time for process rather than transactional work, and how I will reflect on and plan for my own growth.  I don't have any firm answers to these wonderings, but I know that they have to be tackled, so I guess that's as good a place to start as any.  And today provided me with some places to explore.

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Jul 08/20 3:21pm

Action Statement: Manage time, set priorities and meet deadlines – effectively balance your role and your well-being.

This will be a huge factor moving into administration and something that I am going to have to work on from day 1.  I have seen how hard it is to prioritize and get important things done when urgent things keep popping up throughout the day.  I am hoping that my current self-care strategies can still be used to keep me well and still be able to meet the demands of the job.  I truly feel that I don't know what I don't know and am a bit naive at this point about what the expectations on my time will be as a new administrator.  As a wife and mom of 3 busy kids I want to make sure that their opportunities don't suffer because of my work commitments. 

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Jul 08/20 4:12pm

Thank you, Jody. Establishing that balance is an important objective. At the outset it is helpful to be clear about what your non-negotiables are. If eating dinner together as a family is a non-negotiable than what will you do in your day to ensure that priority is met and how can you manage your busy professional life around that? Over time you do learn where you need to invest your time upfront as a leader. Not everything is an urgent priority and taking time to consider a decision carefully is important. In addition, being able to recognize those issues that will blow up into much larger problems down the road if you don't take quick action is an important skill.

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Jul 08/20 3:46pm

So many takeaways from today. I was grateful for the discussion on making changes as a new administrator, and remembering that even though change can be difficult to introduce, it is so important to stay true to your core values. By making core values visible and evident to those we work with, it can be easier to have those important discussions about making changes to a school's culture. I loved the new terms today, including "pedagogy of the hallway" and "school historians." 

When our group discussed matters related to equity and diversity, I recognized that each of us may struggle to identify certain systemic barriers, especially if we ourselves have not been impeded by these barriers. It is so important to seek out different viewpoints and to include all stakeholders in creating an inclusive community.

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Jul 08/20 4:09pm

Thank you for your shared wisdom today, Brett: involve your team, single task more often, take time to reflect and journal, and determine "what are the issues at my school?". Allocate your attention to the important over the urgent. I will remember this. Thank you.

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Jul 08/20 4:25pm

Action Statement: Understand and reflect upon self-management and self-awareness

I really appreciated the honesty of the presenters today in discussing their personal challenges with balancing the demands of this job with wellness.  It gave me pause to consider how I will manage my stress levels, knowing that, first, I have a family to care for at home and, second, I have a tendency towards mobilizing my nervous system very quickly when I feel overwhelmed or sense conflict. 

I will need to practice daily habits to keep myself balanced.  I like the idea of having a daily to-do list with a maximum of 3 priorities, setting aside specific times for email, and checking in with myself via a journal to plan, document my learning and reflect on how I am doing both personally and professionally.  As Brene Brown says, We are born makers. We move what we're learning from our heads to our hearts through our hands.  Journaling has always been a key way for me to make sense of both myself and my next steps. 

My burning question is more rhetorical about how our school is going to build community and belonging when we are physically apart due to covid. 

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Jul 08/20 4:25pm

An excellent day of learning again today. I reviewed my core values and thought about how to keep them at the forefront while I listen, observe and honour the history. I resonated with " create the conditions for learning before learning can occur" as a way to reassure teachers that we need to connect with our hearts first. I have always felt learning spaces help us feel connected to the heart of the building and I reviewed an article  called" Learners at the Centre" about Eagle mountain Middle School in Coquitlam, who really set the bar high for creating  an environment I would want to be part of!  I really appreciate the presentations today for the vulnerability  the leaders showed, and I take to heart the  thought... "are we as inclusive as we say we are?" How can we really tell? 

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Jul 08/20 4:56pm

I look forward to getting to know my new school. I look forward to hearing the stories that I am told as I get to know all the stakeholders in the community. I will listen, I will watch and I will begin to engage. I will ask questions and I will explore the "pedagogy of the hallway" as well as the things I see in the classrooms, the playground, the office and the front of the school. I will begin to be the anthropologist and see what artefacts denote the school community. I want to understand how this community works and I will see who holds the history. I will also listen to the newer voices, the ones that have come after, as well as the brand new ones, the ones like me who are just entering the building. 

As I begin to understand who we are, I will see what areas that I can bring support. I want to be mindful of not overdoing it and I take great comfort in hearing the three panel members speaking to the metacognitive capacity. Things I picked up were the idea of a mindful minute, the single tasking, the breathing and finding balance, perhaps through the river of self-care, blue sky time and finding the supports who will help me. And keeping that journal.

I was taken by the question posed by Dr. Edwards: Who are we giving the opportunity to lead at our school? Those are the things I want to explore as a strive to foster an equitable and inclusive environment. I want to also be aware of who has the chance to speak at this school and who doesn't? Who is seen and who is heard? A book I love to read to students in The Invisible Boy. Who are the invisible ones in a classroom, in a staffroom? Whose voices are we not hearing? How to I work towards all voices being heard and honoured?

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Jul 08/20 5:41pm

Action Statement: Understand and reflect upon self-management and self-awareness 

Today's conversation about the need to take care of oneself in order to care for/support others may be one of the most important, if not the most important, message that new vice-principals need to hear (and that already established leaders sometimes need reminding of!). I particularly liked Brett Johnson's use of the word "choice" in making decisions on how we allocate our time and energy. It is a good reminder that we not only have the agency, but also the responsibility, to choose actions that keep our work/life balance manageable and sustainable. As I embark on the next stage of my career in September, juggling teaching and being a vice-principal, I will keep in mind some of the speakers' suggestions that particularly spoke to me today: stay mindful of what is happening in my body (Katie Marren), block "blue sky time" first (Dan Watt), try single-tasking (Brett Johnson), and remember that self-care is not selfishness (Dr. Edwards). 

Burning question: How can I support or cultivate a culture of self-care in the school community? 

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Jul 08/20 9:41pm

Glad to hear you are forming and reflecting on a plan for September. I think cultivating a culture of self-care is similar to the cultivation of any initiative. Build it in slow, initiate the conversation to get staff thinking about it and what ideas they may have and go from there. I found lunch breaks, once a week a good starting point. At previous schools I have been at we built it in my inviting staff to do yoga at lunch where I had two people on staff who wanted to take turns leading once a week.

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Jul 08/20 6:40pm

Another great day!

I truly enjoyed today's session.  I found it so productive and helpful to discuss the ideas in my group.  I often feel that conversations with colleagues is where I can do my best reflection and growth.

Coming into the fall, and working to develop a new school culture, is an exciting opportunity for me!  I realized that our staff has started building a culture through our Zoom collaborations in May and June, and with our community via social media.  This afternoon I did get an opportunity to meet some of the staff in person for the first time!

I look forward to applying the lessons from today into my practice.

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Jul 08/20 7:19pm

Action Statement: Understand and reflect upon self-management and self-awareness

Today was a great day!  I loved all the discussions and the breakout conversations. As I start to weave my way through my new role as VP in a new school ( moving from primary to secondary), with a new to the district, new Principal, in a small town that likes to fight change...I know being able to find a balance with work family and self will be very important. I hope to reignite my passions of reading for pleasure as well we reading more to support me in my role.

Action Statement: Create an inclusive school and recognize the values of diversity.

Living in a small, not so open minded at times community, can make it challenging  to start conversations you know will make loud voices even louder. But, I am ready to make changes because schools need to be inclusive of all people. Starting with language, signs and having a collective voice with teachers and staff about what do safe and inclusive schools look and feel like will be imperative.

It may be a bumpy ride, but it will be worth it!

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Jul 08/20 9:41pm

Thank you for your thoughts everyone.  It is a real pleasure to read through the posts and see the depth of reflection, the shared intension of action and the authenticity of curiosity.  Being a leader is all of these things and more. 

I wish you all the very best in your rich and diverse journeys ahead.

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Jul 08/20 9:51pm

After todays discussions the action statement that resonated with me the most was:

Manage time, set priorities and meet deadlines – effectively balance your role and your well-being.

This is because it reminded me that I need to make time for the priorities of the day. It's not enough to say I will do a walk through, I need to schedule it or it just doesn't happen. Reflecting on this action statement I am also reminded that what is urgent to some might not be urgent to me and I need to be mindful of that in order to utilize my time under a student centred approach, not necessarily a staff entered approach.

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Jul 08/20 10:05pm

Setting the tone by developing an inclusive and collaborative culture during the first few weeks of school is of the utmost importance. As I am returning to my same small school and position I place value in welcoming the students back and setting the tone with our joint vision and expectations for ourselves and our school by doing a group discussion and pledge around our school year:  what it sounds like, feels, like, and looks like. Having the students lead this activity fosters responsibility in their learning environment and creates the tone for school culture.

The tips from today surrounding time management, priorities and balance were very helpful. Keeping notes, staying organized while being mindful of personal balance were key takeaways to remember when prepping for September.  I am curious about looking into the  mentor program.  

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Jul 08/20 10:18pm

Action Statement: Understand and reflect upon self-management and self-awareness

I was inspired by all of our panel presenters today and I appreciated the rich discussions in our break out group. As I look ahead to September, I will focus on finding a balance. Developing self awareness through a self reflection journal is a great starting place. Self management will mean dedicating time daily to journal so I can reflect and continue to discover who I am. I love the quote "We are always in process of becoming...".  I liked Brett's idea to list 3-4 priorities so I can purposefully focus my actions and attempt single tasking. This will definitely be a stretch for me.  I look forward to giving myself permission to breathe (how easy it is to forget to do this!), block in some "blue sky time" and remember that self-care is NOT selfish. I hope to model this with my staff so that we can all learn to self regulate in order to co-regulate with each other and for our students. Presently, I am a critical friend for a colleague. It is my time to develop my own supports and stay connected with a coach or my own critical friend.  Thank you, Mark, for reminding us that our own meta-cognitive "fitness" is critical is we are to be able to perform the roles we are asked to engage in.  

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Jul 08/20 10:41pm

When I reflect on this morning's session, and then the business that consumed my afternoon, the importance of maintaining balance was reinforced. It is amazing that I can become teary at the thoughtful synthesis provided by Mark Edwards, and then dash off to a meeting and emails etc without lunch. Irony noted. I think I will talk to a colleague about self-care and how we can keep each other accountable for our well-being.

The panel format has been so rich, and today's panel presenters seemed to connect to so many of us, even in the virtual context. I think the authenticity and vulnerability demonstrated is felt by all, and this is an important lesson when I think about creating an inclusive and collaborative culture. It has to be safe to take risks, to discuss challenging topics with curiosity instead of judgement, and to listen more. Mark's point about the third educator is timely, as we have the challenge and opportunity to create different, but welcoming and inclusive spaces for students and staff in September. This really started me thinking about my school, and I'd like to walk the hallways and wonder how an Indigenous student or person of colour would feel when they walked in. Now, in times of Covid, we need a sense of community more than ever. How will I do this? Think I'll go to Resources now...






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Jul 09/20 7:53am

And welcome to the life of an administrator Hilary! Finding those critical friends who will support you, hold you accountable and be honest with you is self care at its finest...... and not doing it alone is so important! Looking forward to seeing the revitalized garden at SWC in the near future!

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Jul 09/20 7:21am

Develop an inclusive and collaborative culture.

This action statement resonates with me because it is one of my core values. I think too often teachers become isolated in their classrooms, even if unintentionally. To effectively collaborate it cannot be done as a one-off, but rather has to be built in to the culture of the school. In a discussion about timetabling, it has occurred to me that this collaboration can be built into the week. However, effective collaboration is more than just time, it's also process and a willingness to be critical of our own practice. I hope moving forward I can help model this process for my staff. Inclusion in a sense is similar. We have to go beyond just physically including all learners in the room, but actually start to look critically at our practice and ask the question: Am I doing everything I can to offer an equitable learning experience?

Manage time, set priorities and meet deadlines – effectively balance your role and your well-being.

This piece resonates with me because I fear it will be one that I struggle with as a new principal. I know that I will meet deadlines, but I also know that finding balance in my work and life will not come easily.  It was very useful hearing today all of the different strategies people use to help strike this balance. It also feels good to realize that I am not in this journey alone and that there are open and receptive people across the province who are going through the same thing. 



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Jul 09/20 7:25am

Action Statements:
Develop an inclusive and collaborative culture; understand and reflect upon self-management and self-awareness; manage time, set priorities, and meet deadlines – effectively balance your role and your well-being. 


Today's discussion made an impact. All three action statements speak to goals that I have set for my practice next year. One specific word that is important to note is balance. Going the extra mile is necessary in the service we provide to all stakeholders in education -- most particularly the students we serve. For my own practice, going the extra mile is never in question. As brilliantly captured in our panel discussions yesterday, however, we need to model and support the idea of self care and the positive connections between mind and body (fitness); we also need to cultivate a healthy, empathetic culture in which we openly express the need take care of one another. Building an authentically inclusive and transformational culture should evolve into a community with shared values and responsibilities that are measured and delegated with fairness and balance as well. In building a stronger learning community we can potentially find the balance we need to personally and collectively thrive. 

Excellent resources provided today -- thank you. 


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Jul 09/20 7:51am

Well said Sean...looking forward to hearing how your Kindness focus builds this upcoming year!

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Jul 09/20 8:16am

The piece that resonated for me from our panel discussions and Mark's closing statement was around whose voice do I give time to and who do I not? 

This fits into a couple of contexts for me. First and fore most I think of inclusion. Who do I seek out to speak, check in with more frequently, provide opportunities to - student, staff, community? There are people I am unintentionally not including. Too often we will support and provide for those who are showing or asking that they want those opportunities. I want to be mindful of who isn't being heard. How can I empower them and lift them up to lead? 

At times I put the needs of others as a leader and at the price of my own self-care. Balance is important and I need to ensure I give voice to myself so I can help others co-regulate and provide the supports they need. I am unable to do that piece well if I am not able to regulate myself. It will be an important piece to ensure that I seek out my own supports of a coach, but also schedule in self-care time and moments throughout my day. Tomorrow, work will still be there. 

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Jul 09/20 8:17am

Action Statement: Create an inclusive school and recognize the values of diversity.


I think it is important to not become complacent. I celebrate when I can do actions like posters in the hallway or diversity of representation in the library. However, I don't think inclusivity is a place that you can get to, I think it is consistently striving to do better. 

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