Teach Less, Learn More?

I was recently lamenting about August 1 coming and the end of summer fast approaching.  Now I am already racing into September and my mind is whirling with thoughts about how we can make this year the best year it can be.  I keep coming back in my mind to the idea of “Teach Less, Learn More”.  I have decided that it will be my mantra this year.  I want to base my first year as principal of my school on that idea.

I am immersed in two of Will Richardson’s books right now: Personal Learning Networks and Learning on the Blog.  I am a huge fan of Will Richardson.  He writes about his children’s education a lot and will sometimes admit that he is a tough parent when it comes to the school.  I wish I had more parents like him.  Parents that would expect their children to be learning in ways that will prepare them for the future.

I feel like we have made a lot of progress as a staff and within our school moving our teaching from the traditional feeding of information to allowing our students to drive their own learning.  We have such a long way to go.  So my mind is whirling right now with the following questions:

1.  How can I keep developing my own personal learning network?

2.  How can I encourage and support my staff to develop their learning networks?

3.  How can we continue the movement toward student driven learning and get everyone to buy in but be comfortable along the journey?

4.  As a principal, how can I continue to put ideas out there and be able to support my staff without it becoming too overwhelming and people shutting down?

Any ideas for a new principal that would like her staff to “Teach less, Learn More”?

August 1st Again?

I am already feeling that summer crunch where I am trying to hold on to those lazy 2 hour coffees in the morning while I read whatever I want, but for some reason when that calendar page turns to August that familiar feeling of needing to organize my school year comes back.

This year I have the opportunity to move into a principal’s position at the elementary school where I have worked for 3 years.  I have long anticipated this moment and have spent many moments since accepting the position moving from excitement to panic.  I have been lucky enough to work with and learn from many good administrators in my career and I am hoping that I can put some of those things into my practice while still giving it my personal flare.

One of my goals this summer was to increase my personal learning network.  I am very passionate about technology and especially meeting the needs of our students through the use of technology in our schools.  I am also interested in being able to walk my talk as much as I can.  I am trying to become an active twitter participant.  Until this summer I have stood on the cliff, afraid to jump off, just observing all of the collaboration and learning happening around me.  I no longer want to observe, I want to participate.  I now have diigo on my computer and love it, I have been trying to participate with my Facebook connections in a more meaningful way, I have been trying to make full use of my I-phone as an interactive, collaborative, organizational tool, rather than just a talking and texting machine and I am trying to jump into the twitter world.

I am hoping that through my PLN I will be able to continue to learn and gain ideas and support that will help my in my new position.

As I was looking through some blog posts this morning I came across two that caught my learning eye. One was a post written my Dean Shareski on July 12 titled, ” What ways has leadership empowered you to become a better teacher?” and the other was a post written by Brian Crosby on his Learning is Messy blog, titled “What do teachers need from administrators?”.  That is exactly where my head is right now.

What do my teachers need from me?

Interestingly enough as I was reading some of the comments written on these posts I found this quote,  “If you always do what you’ve always done then you’ll always get what you’ve always got!” I couldn’t help by think that this would be a good place to start.  If I can show my teachers that I am willing to learn new things and change the way I am doing things, than maybe I will be one step closer to supporting them in making the changes they need and desire.

Can’t be a bad place to start I guess!