Sunday, March 31, 2019

How Much Do You Love Your School? #LoveMySchoolDay

The 6th year of #LoveMySchoolDay is coming up on Thursday, April 11, and I am excited to see once again all of the wonderful stories of how awesome your school is.   Each year, the hashtag inspires educators and friends of education around the world to believe in the transformational power of education.   To kick this yearly event off, I have a quick question for you.

Just How Much do you Love your School?

The reason that I ask this is simple.  Some love our schools to a point, and that point defines how much we are willing to take a stand for the people inside that school.  If we like our school, then we are just fond of it.  We respect the leaders and associates who we work with in a safe manner, but we may not go far enough to say that we love the school.

If We Love our Schools, Let's Stand Up for Them.
That means that while we know that not everything is perfect inside our school, we sacrifice for our school.  We take a stand when others would remain silent.  We acknowledge the fact that like every other organization, we don't always do everything right, but we also don't sit there while the critics on the sidelines use our shortcomings and mishaps as weapons to attack the school.  We do this because we believe in the progress that we are making to educate all students.

The Bottom Line is This.

No one will ever know just how much we love our schools until the educators inside them tell people
outside the school just how much they love what they do, the students they do it for, and the colleagues they do it with.  #LoveMySchoolDay is our choice to take our stand, to raise our collective voice, and to join educators around the world who also love their schools in telling the real stories.  Schools don't exist to merely teach kids; schools are designed to transform communities, states, and nations by shaping both the young and adult minds within them. 

At the end of the day, when we actively demonstrate our love for our schools, schools have the potential and the needed support to instill faith, hope and love in all of our students, of which the greatest of these three is love.  (1 Cor 13:13)  I hope to see your story on April 11, and I look forward to inspiring the world with you as we unite to tell the world just how much we love our schools.

Friday, March 22, 2019

The Difference between Expectations and Nonnegotiables

Nonnegotiables... things not up for discussion. Obviously, they’re not up for discussion. They are not negotiable. Or are they???

Leaders set expectations, but expectations aren’t nonnegotiables until the failure to meet those expectations is called to account until they are met. Have you ever had a leader expect something that you knew they were not going to follow up on?  If we’re honest, the answer is obvious. The challenge in all of this is creating expectations that we can guarantee. 

  • Plan for Accountability - The first step to turning expectations into nonnegotiables is to make plan of how those expectations will be monitored and responded to if not met. 
  • Time to Monitor - If expectations are importer. Enough to assign, they are important enough to dedicate time to see if they are being met. 
  • Systems of Support - If they are not being met due to lack of skill, leaders must proactively provide a system of supports to help people meet the expectations. 
  • Confidence to Confront - If expectations are not met due to lack of will, leaders must demonstrate courage and commitment to both the expectations and the organization by addressing the person and their lack of will. 

Expectations without a plan to guarantee them are nothing more than a leader’s aspirations. Nonnegotiables are expectations accompanied by a plan to guarantee their success. The difference between expectations and nonnegotiables is essentially a leader’s determination to see then through. The question weleaders must ask ourselves is if we have the grit and determination to see them to fruition. 

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Those, Who Can, Teach

It has always been most frustrating listening to someone who has never taught a day in their life make the following statement.

Those, who can, do, and those, who can’t, teach. 

This statement could not be more inaccurate and more insulting to the tremendous people who commit their lives to serving children. Here’s the deal; the statement above is completely false. Teachers don’t know the word, can’t. You know why? It’s because they don’t like failure at all, and they like excuses even less. Furthermore, teachers can and they do make a difference because they take full responsibility for every student that walks through their doors regardless of issue, background, disability or zip code. Teachers do what few can do. 

For those who truly don’t understand what it takes to be in the profession, let me ask you a few questions. 
  • Can you motivate and inspire 25 students for 6 hours per day every day?
  • Can you teach kids while also serving as their mother, father, counselor, friend, and sounding board?
  • Can you prepare every student to perform successfully under the highest standards in the history of education?
  • Can you ensure that all, not some, kids learn and grow?
  • Can you do all that even as funding dissipates, benefits erode and retirement looks less and less solvent?

Are you getting my point???

Teachers are the lifeblood of our democracy. Better yet, they hold the future of our democracy in their hands, but here’s the real story. They can and they do all of this without the full support they deserve. 

So What Can We Do?
In this time, we can advocate to our legislators the critical importance of legislating on behalf of all teachers and the education profession as a whole. We can persuade legislators to take meaningful action on their behalf, not just in funding, retirement, and accountability, but also in restoring respect and reverence for the profession. 

Those, who can, teach, and they do it everyday. The question is whether we can and will do more to restore respect and reverence to the profession, so that teachers can do even more for all kids.