The Principal's Principles

A Middle School Principal, striving to make the world a better place, one day at a time.

5 Things Educators Must Do

The break for the holidays has arrived, and if you are like me, you’re looking forward to taking some time away. Connecting with friends, eating dinner at a reasonable hour, and sleeping past 5:15 are all on my agenda for the next few days. In addition, the downtime will also give me a great chance to catch up on my professional reading and resources. I’ve made a list of 5 “must dos” between now and January 3, 2012.

1. Get to Know Barnett Berry, Kristoffer Kohl, and the army of contributors to the CTQ.

If you have found yourself thinking a lot about what education reform might look like if teachers and administrators were leading the charge rather than legislators, you will find a lot of meaningful work from the Center for Teaching Quality. Barnett Berry recently wrote a fabulous column about what teacher evaluation might look like if educators designed the system.

What I like most about this group is that I cannot help but think about ways to involve teachers in what we are doing after I read their work or interact with them on twitter. They host hashtag chats (#teaching2030) that always have relevant topics and thoughtful participants. Recently, I had an exchange with a few educators from around the country about some of the ideas coming from teacher led schools that pushed me to re-think the planning for our building professional development day in January, as well as how we are going to allocate some federal resources that came our way recently. Rather than me taking the lead on planning or purchasing, I’ll be working collaboratively in some cases, or letting teachers make key decisions.

2. Give a listen to one of my favorite professors, Dr. Bob Maxfield and his cohost Linda Tyson.

Dr. Maxfield was a longtime school administrator that is now a graduate level professor at Oakland University in Rochester Hills, Michigan. In addition to facilitating classroom discussions and developing assignments that push me and my peers to think deeper, reflect, and grow, he is a co-host of Podcasts for Leaderful Schools, available through iTunes.

A wide variety of topics are covered by outstanding guests. I think you’ll find each episode offers something new and interesting to think about. I’ve found many different ideas to talk with teachers about during the “something I’d like you to think about or try” portion of evaluation meetings.

3. Join Justin Baeder and the Principal Center.

I first connected with Justin through Twitter, and was proud to be a guest on his podcast. He’s dedicated, through The Principal Center to promoting the best in professional practice for school administrators through webcasts, guides, chats and articles. Personally, a big goal of mine this break is to devote some time to reading up and catching a webinar.

I use Evernote on my iPad, but am confident I don’t use it to the full capacity I could. Justin has some information that I am certain will help me use this tool more effectively.

4. Follow Alan November’s lead and get active on Twitter!

Last Spring, I had the chance to see Alan November speak. His ideas about using technology as a tool, and his argument that social networking can be used for professional growth really resonated with me. His presentation led me to get active with Twitter, where I have been fortunate enough to meet educators from around the country who have inspired me to be a better leader. November Learning is a website to visit as you think more about technology, and will provide you with several very helpful Twitter hashtags.

There are too many smart people working in our profession and on Twitter to miss, such as the group at #edfocus, a book group filled with big thinkers is going to meet on December 21 at 8:30 pm Central Time. We’re reading the second half of Gatto’s Weapons of Mass Instruction and going to have another strong conversation. Jump in, you’ll find yourself fired up.

5. Take 12 minutes and led Kiran Bir Sethi inspire you to have high expectations.

It’s a TED talk, and not much more is needed, just watch and listen.

The time to grow is now! Feel free to post any responses, resources, or other ideas about things educators should be thinking about as 2012 begins.

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One thought on “5 Things Educators Must Do

  1. Thanks John! I appreciate the mention of The Principal Center – always great to talk with you.

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