This was an interesting week. Last Saturday I participated in the Connected Educator conference. I really enjoyed connecting with so many #EduStars. Many people believe these conferences are all about technology, but actually they are all about connecting and sharing. The very next day I was down and out with the crud. This crud forced me to miss Monday as well. I really do not like missing school. It's not because I feel as though the school can't survive without me, it's because I love being at school and making an impact during the school day. The rest of the week was filled with Kindergarten Round-Up, classroom walk-throughs, College for a Day, various meetings and SAU mock interviews. All in all it was a busy week. So busy that I didn't even participate in one weekly Twitter chat : (
I want to begin with a bit from the Mock Interviews with college seniors. I have been on several hiring committees in the last 5-6 years. I will not call myself an expert, but I will say that I believe I have witnessed good and bad interviews. This process was designed to provide feedback for all of the participants in an effort to help them prepare for the "real thing". I was on a committee with two other administrators. We interviewed three people, asked them various questions, and provided feedback during the interview and at the end. I went into this process with one belief: I wanted to help the interviewers walk away with honest feedback. The goal was to help the individuals improve. The entire process lasted about 2 hours and I left a bit frustrated. I was frustrated by the lack of philosophy and authentic feedback.
That night I went home and contemplated why I was frustrated. I realized that my frustration was due to the fact that I'm a believer in honesty. Then I thought deeper and I realized that it wasn't that someone was dishonest, it was the fact that some individuals struggle with "difficult conversations." Then I got angry with myself. I have struggled with difficult conversations in the past. I have skirted confrontation on occasion and I certainly have not always been good at offering purposeful, honest feedback.
So I discovered the focus of my irritation was me. I was reflecting on the conversations that I now deemed "less than effective." This truly bothered me for the bulk of the night and into the next day. I then self-reflected and decided it wouldn't do me any good to beat myself up. The fact is, I haven't always got the desired effect out of every conversation, but I'm learning, I'm growing and I think I'm getting better. This was an important self-talk. I can rest easy knowing that I'm doing my best, and I am improving.
So what does this all mean? We are coming to the end of the school year. The end of the year is a time to reflect. Often times the end of the school year will include conversations with students and parents. These talks will center around memories, relationships, strengths and hopefully areas of needed growth. I urge you to have the COURAGE to give purposeful, honest feedback. When we entered this profession we likely entered to make a positive impact on students. We now understand that if we don't have those honest, purposeful conversations we are hurting the next educator, as well as robbing the student of the truth.
The final 6+ weeks will surely be filled with more conversations. If I have learned something, it is that I owe it to the kids to give honest, purposeful feedback. This final quote reminds me of where I want to be:
Confidence...thrives on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live.
-Franklin D. Roosevelt
Do you have the courage to have honest, purposeful conversations?
NEXT WEEK AT A GLANCE:
Monday, April 29th: 5pm Spec. Board Meeting
Monday, April 29th: Brad Wilson will be available in the AM for Tech support
Monday, April 29th: Fire Drill in the AM
Tuesday, April 30th: TEAM meeting
Tuesday, April 30th: String Team 4pm
Wednesday, May 1st: K-2 assembly
Friday, May 3rd: StoryFest grades K-2
Friday, May 3rd: Last day of Spanish
Articles Worth Reading:
How to Truly Evaluate a Teacher shared by @NMHS_Principal
Everything We Need to Know We Learned on Twitter by @twhitford and @Cantiague_Lead
Leadership Likeability by @8Amber8
20 websites every elementary teacher should see shared by @dreambition
Why EdCamp? by @kristenswanson
So you wanna use blogs in the classroom... by @KleinErin
The Big Question: Should Teachers or Students Talk More? shared by @MrPowersCMS
3 Ideas to Inspire Change by @gcouros
Running Pains Hurt So Good by @Newbiechronicle
A Glass of Milk, Paid in Full by academictips.org
Class Dojo, Going Paperless by @KleinErin
61 Educational Apps for the 21st Century Student shared by @NMHS_Principal
7 new apps you should know about shared by @joykelly05
5 Myths about Writing with Mobile Devices shared by @Joesanfelippofc
iPad in Phys. Ed shared by @patrickmlarkin
Videos Worth Watching:
Challenging the Status Quo: Why I hate School but love Education (6 min) shared by @stumpteacher
Inspiring story, Touch of class Nebraska (11 min)
Sure to make you laugh! Whose Line is it Anyway? (7 min)
Social Media Trends and Statistics (4 min)