The reality of Term 4 in education - double the thinking, planning and emotional management as you not only focus on the last part of the school year, but also manically (or calmly!) get 2017 set up as well! It's like time speeds up exponentially and the weeks of October, November and December seem to whiz by before our eyes. There are few other professions that have this pressure as an annual event so it is important that we celebrate the adaptability, focus and sheer hard work that goes into this time of year by educators everywhere.
Using the Integrated Leader model of Emotional Intelligence, Strategic Intelligence and Learning Intelligence as a guide, here is some thinking that may help you implement some reflection time in Term 4.
Keeping staff well being on the agenda is critical at a time when we can be so busy it might slip us by. Emotionally intelligent leaders are able to perceive, understand and manage the emotional 'thermometer' in people. Leadership teams that keep the focus on how they can support their people through small and large acts of kindness help staff not only feel valued, but also inspired to see joy in their work even when they are tired.
Keeping our own well being on the agenda is even more difficult. Many leaders are great at looking after others, not so much themselves. What do you need to do to ensure that you get enough rest, exercise, good food and activities that you enjoy? This means we are much more able to be resilient and able to deal with stressful situations in a balanced and mindful way. Our self-regulation remains high which links to not 'losing it' or feeling overwhelmed by things.
Even though we hope to be prepared for it, taking a breath in November and asking some big picture questions of ourselves and our teams can help set our schools up for a great end to 2016 and a great start to 2017.
1. What's working well?
2. What's not working so well?
3. What are three things we can do to support the things not working so well?
4. Where should the key focus areas for the first half of 2017 be in a big picture sense?
5.How are we celebrating the achievements of 2016 and valuing people's contributions?
By spending some time doing a general reflection and review of where we've been and where we want to go to, we can gain clarity on where to put our focus.
This is the Intelligence of The Buzz. Collaboration and learning out loud, together. It's about the three pillars of Growth Mindset, Compelling Environment and Authentic Dialogue - or the three Ms - Mind, Moment and Mouth.
Have teams reflect on their biggest learnings for 2016.
1. What is something we learnt about our students that surprised us?
2. What new teaching and learning approaches did we start using?
3. What impact have they have?
4. Where have we specifically built the team's collective capacity by collaborating and learning together?
These key components of Mindset Environment and Dialogue are explored in the visual chart below, and in my book The Buzz, Creating Thriving and Collaborative Staff Learning Cultures.
By thinking about our people, supporting their learning and having deep connection to purpose and plans, the end of 2016 and the start of 2017 can be low-stress and enjoyable - and not TOO crazy!
If you've got great ways that you help support your staff in this exponential Term 4 time that you're happy to share, I'd love to hear from you.
Speaking of looking after ourselves, here is a link to an interesting weekend workshop on Cultivating Inner Authority- Manifesting our Genius presented by Rick Smith. Rick Smith of consciousteaching.com is based in Bali and is bringing his workshop to Melbourne over the weekend of 12th/13th November.
Parent School Partnerships
The Australian Principals' Federation and Parents' Victoria have partnered to publish a guide for schools and parents wishing to create stronger family-school connections.
How fantastic to see these two great organisations work together to provide leadership in this space and encourage more of us to have committed and purposeful conversations. I was honoured to be asked to contribute two articles to this publication, which you can find here on the Parents Victoria website. Congratulations to APF and Parents Victoria for this great initiative - supporting partnership and collaboration between home and school.
Bill Lucas, International adviser and author of Educating Ruby, launched the guide last week at an APF dinner. Bill has been advising the Victorian Department of Education on creative and critical thinking and co-wrote Educating Ruby with Guy Claxton. I graphically recorded BIll's keynote at the Parents Victoria conference and he was inspirational. There is great hope when education systems are thinking critically about how we move beyond the straitjacket of subject-siloed and content driven academic results and seeking input from global experts leading this movement.
The National ACEL Conference 2016 - Leadership with Insight and Innovation was jam packed with fabulous keynotes and thought provoking presentations. Many highlights for me - one being Ben Walden from Contender Charlie, a Shakespearean actor who blew everyone away with the leadership lessons from Henry V. Contender Charlie 'use the power of storytelling and mythology to enhance and inspire the creative learning of young people as well as their teachers and school leaders.' I thoroughly recommend you get to learn from him if you get the chance - brilliant!
Sugata Mitra as always was inspiring in not only his story, but in his challenge to us as educators to say 'I have no idea, or I don't know' more often. My sketchnote of his talk is here
The chart you see here is from my workshop at the conference, titled: The Buzz, Creating a Thriving and Collaborative Staff Learning Culture. Participants from all states of Australia and New Zealand came in to have great discussion