This week’s challenge is definitely the one that I make an effort to improve upon each day; honoring voice and choice from others. As leaders, we are conditioned to believe that we have to immediately have the answers to the questions asked by students, teachers, parents and community members. We go into fix-mode instead of brainstorm-mode. As Shelley mentioned in our first challenge,
“Too often observations and feedback come across as evaluative and judgmental leaving teachers with a feeling that we are in their classrooms to “fix” them as opposed to partnering with them on a continuous journey of learning and growth for all of us. The overly judgmental “telling” conversations can temporarily lead to teacher compliance, but they rarely lead to a culture where everyone is committed to taking risks and trying new things and where people are hungry for feedback to help them learn and grow.”
This week, we challenge you to take time to Honor the voice and choice of those that you lead and then Offer the support needed to make these ideas a reality.
- Identify a teacher that has shown an interest in trying something new in his/her classroom from your collaborative conversation last week.
- Drop the ANCHOR of appreciation and notice the Impact with the teacher.
- Honor the voice and choice of the idea that the teacher has generated.
- Offer your support and of course your PIRATE enthusiasm for the anticipation of what positive effect this could have on the learning of students. It’s amazing how an idea mixed with the right amount of enthusiasm can literally cause a learning EXPLOSION!
- Be sure that you also honor the voice and choice of what support is needed. Most often, the support needed is an extra hand in the classroom, a listening ear or a brainstorm buddy, but don’t steamroll the teacher with your ideas.
- Follow through with your support each day.
For example, I have a math teacher that is wanting to explore differentiated instruction and assessment at a deeper level after our collaborative conversation last week. She has a few different strategies that she researched and now would like to try with students that are struggling to master grade level objectives. I have encouraged her to choose what she feels will best work with her students and to let me know how I can support her as she implements these strategies. She would like me to help identify resources to use and lend a hand in the classroom when she begins to implement these strategies with our students. I can’t wait!!
Cannonballs to Avoid:
- It is essential that when honoring voice and choice that the ideas are teacher-driven. It’s okay to brainstorm together, but the ownership must be with the teacher.
- When offering support, be sure that your classroom visits are non-evaluative. This is not the time for a formal observation. Teachers will not feel comfortable taking risks if we do not set up an environment that is safe.
Something we’ve been asked as we have gone through the weekly challenges is whether ANCHOR works for all conversations with staff. The answer to that is not always. There are times when the conversation must be centered differently due to specific, focused concerns. Don’t worry though, we also have a tool that we will share soon to help support you with these conversations. You won’t have to walk the PLANK alone!
Shelley and I look forward to hearing all about the great things happening in your schools! What an awesome opportunity as leaders to stay rooted in the classroom. Please share your story throughout the week on our #LeadLAP hashtag. We will also take time to reflect this Friday from 7:30-8:00 CST on our #LeadLAP chat. Have a great week!
Check out past challenges at the following links:
A is for Appreciation
N is for Notice the Impact
C is for Collaborative Conversations