What are you doing every day to help create the world you want to see?
Part of my job as a division leader is vision-casting. It is my responsibility as director of the middle grades to be a person who thinks about where this “cruise ship” should travel, the path to our destination, and the events along the way. Conversations that involve listening to faculty members create and explore new ideas while encouraging these individuals to stretch their thinking is paramount. For instance, should a teacher want to build a new lab study in heat transfer, it is my job to consider how students should be learning and walk through that vision with e educator leading the way. At the same time, I should carve out pockets of the day or week to discuss school vision with the entire faculty team so that they begin to reflect on how their day-to-day aligns with that vision. When the individual activity arrives, such as the heat transfer lab, that educator already has a foundation built that manages expectations and supports new methodology.
Another piece to create a world I want to see is research and exploration. We must do some learning for ourselves to improve the environment present for faculty and students. Exploring new concepts, practices, and current research must remain a consistent part of our professional effort. When something new presents itself, we must then consider how that new idea, program, or practice aligns (or challenges) our current vision. We should model comfort when considering ideas that challenge the status quo. While change is difficult in schools, adjusting to new research or practices starts with leadership – vulnerability (admitting that a better way exists) is a requirement for change.
Imagine a place where students could…
If you could create a brand new school for yourself in September, what would it look like? Mine would be a place of opportunity. I could envision a space where students can engage in various activities, from hands-on experiments to discussion-based centers. Students should be able able to self-direct a large portion of their learning, with adults in the building serving as “inspiration specialists” who have a wealth of knowledge about platforms, applications, communities, and culture. These adults would carry the responsibility of educating students on the various paths to take while refraining from making a choice for them. Students would be in charge of their learning journey, creaky accountable “gates” through whichthey would pass on the road to discovery. I believe this school would support middle-aged students an older. Kids who enroll would have that certain mental wanderlust, eager to search for answers and share their findings.
And the space would never end with the physical walls if the building, but would extend to the great outdoors, fields and courts of competition, and digital pathways for communication with the global village.