In many cases, teachers are hired and put in a classroom (sometimes just days or hours before the first day of school!) and are expected to make the magic happen. If s/he can’t, it is assumed that the teacher has some major deficit. Most times, this assumption is incorrect and reflects unrealistic expectations of what a degree in education or certification actually prepares one for.
As a school leader, you know you need to be thinking about school culture. But what is it? It’s easier described than defined. What everyone can describe is how critical school culture is to a school’s success. All too often, the magnitude of school culture is taken for granted and schools suffer. The term school culture generally refers to the beliefs, perceptions, relationships, attitudes, and written and unwritten rules that shape and influence every aspect of how a school functions.
Investing in college readiness at urban elementary and middle school levels is one of the most important tasks that educators can make. Contemporary educators, policymakers and parents have questioned the efficacy of schools serving primarily minority and low-income students. For far too long, the prevailing narrative that surrounds the schooling experiences of minority and low-income students has been dominated by tales of academic failure, behavioral problems, disengaged parents, and abandonment by civic institutions and organizations. Sadly, many teachers, students, and parents have accepted the widespread belief that minority and low-income means academic failure and behavior problems.
In 1970, Robert K. Greenleaf, an AT&T executive, coined the phrase servant leadership. Since that time, many people have tried to define servant leadership. But what does it mean to be a servant leader and how can servant leadership impact a classroom and school?
A simple definition of servant leadership involves leading others from a mindset of placing the needs of the organization and the needs of people over the needs and desire of the leader. This is not easy. Many times ego gets in the way of true servant leadership. However, an organization that has a servant as a leader can have wide-reaching impact on the effectiveness of its employees.
I hate to break it to you, but there is no such thing as work/life balance. There used to be, but not anymore. Just a few years ago, most of us could escape and remain disconnected from the office for hours at a time. But that’s not the case in today’s hectic, technology filled life.
Today, our personal and work lives are so intertwined you can’t separate the two. Smartphones, tablets, cloud access to data and social media have tied us to school when we are at the grocery store, in waiting rooms, and at the kitchen table. We are connected 24 hours a day! Managing life and work it is not a matter of balance; it’s a matter of efficiency of time.
Over the last 6 years, MAPSA, Michigan’s charter school association has implemented a teacher incentive fund grant titled the Teacher Excellence & Academic Milestones for Students (TEAMS) project. In partnership with Innovators in Education, MAPSA has coordinated a number of experiential learning trips across the nation to for Detroit school leaders to visit some of the top performing and truly innovative charter schools that are beating the odds. The latest trip was to the windy city to tour some of the top schools in Chicago.
I have an eight-month old that doesn’t sleep through the night. My husband and I are working on it, but with all the variables of daylight saving time, going from three naps to two and trying to ignore all the contradicting advice on the internet, it’s hard to tell what techniques work, and what ones set us back. We take turns tending to her but in the blur of sleepless nights we often ask each other when, and for how long the baby was awake. The other morning we realized he got up with her once and she was back asleep within 15 minutes and I got up to feed her once and the rest of the 12 hours, she was asleep. My husband told me not to get too excited and I said to him, “We need to count the little victories.”
Every long-term battle is full of set backs, especially in education: losing funding sources, transportation and enrollment issues, finding and retaining quality talent, low parent engagement, problems with bullying, outdated technology… the list goes on and on. Educators and school leaders seem to face an infinite uphill battle, with a never-ending task list. Schools – which started out simply to educate the basic subjects, now seem to be responsible for raising full citizens. They need to teach the core subjects in addition to health, citizenship, fitness, technology, music, art, drama, foreign languages, home economics, manners... yet another endless list.
In 2008, the Michigan Wolverines finished the season 3-9. Short of a spike in 2011, the program teetered around five hundred for years, showing anything but consistency in performance. In 2014, the team finished with a record of 5-7 overall and 3-5 in the Big Ten, cementing a low point in the program.
In 2008, the Washington Huskies finished with a record of 0-12. This was followed by years of seeking out winning records by only a game with signs that the tipping point was coming, but still finishing with a 7-6 record in 2015.
This is the first blog post in a series that will uncover the social-emotional support systems needed in schools to support students who are exposed to trauma and stress.
Emotions matter. Schools are driven by results and often believe that academic achievement matters. Attendance matters. But emotions? Emotions drive decision-making and impact the quality of your relationships.
People may ask you how high your IQ is, however, has anyone ever asked you how high your EI is? Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to recognize, understand and manage your emotions as well as the ability to recognize and understand emotions in others. So what does EI have to do with your school?