Sunday, September 1, 2013

What do I Amplify?

As a principal I spent a fair bit of time reflecting on ways I could support and empower teachers at the school. By supporting and empowering teachers, I felt, would go a long way in creating a culture of support and empowerment in the classroom - a sort of "trickle down effect" - ultimately benefiting the students.

As a principal, I always felt a tension in deciding on WHAT to amplify.  There was no shortage of information.  

As a school level administrator, I sometimes felt the crush of the "management" side of the job. Finances, funding, budgets, fundraising, government mandates, policies, daily schedules, etc.

It could, at times, consume me.

Yet I made the conscious decision, on most occasions, to deal with those issues "quietly". I rarely made those management issues staff wide agenda items. Instead choosing to amplify and make a lot noise about teaching and learning.

In many ways I saw my role as principal as mitigating the impact of "administrivia" on teacher so that they could focus on the teaching and learning. 

This is one significant way I supported teachers.

Two weeks into my new role, I realize that perhaps I need to support and empower principals in the same way.

I am not dismissing the "management" side of school administration. If not done well and efficiently, it could undermine a principalship and/or a school.

With principals, like with teachers, I need to find that sweet spot in communicating some of important management details of the job, while consistently and "loudly" finding time to amplify the instructional leadership part of the job.

If we empower and support principals in this way it might create more a than "trickle" down effect but rather a "tidal wave" of support and learning for teachers and students.

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