2014: Change is the Focus


So here we go again. 🙂

It it certainly surreal that tomorrow I head back to work for an ‘unofficial’ Leadership day which will no doubt look to direct what our foci will be for the year ahead. It is a safe bet to say that I look forward to 2014, professionally speaking, with a want and need in some regards to change the way I go about my role as an educator and  leader.

My new years resolution for this year is all about “Change”. Changing certain things in my own life physically, mentally and socially as well as fostering that notion of change in my professional life. Change for this year has already occurred in quite a large way with the birth of my third daughter just before Christmas 2013. That in itself has certainly led to a whole lot of new changes in my own life as when adding a newborn baby to the mix of a near 4 and 2 year old certainly makes for some interesting times! 😉

A reason for change to be needed is that I felt 2013 interrupted my family life considerably and this is one change that I plan on making. Finding that better work life balance that many of us dream of will be a priority. This in turn has implications of course on my work and what I do as the need to be more ‘streamlined and efficient’ with my time will need to happen.

In saying that, this year will see me teaching  in a year 7 classroom 2 days per week and team teaching with another wonderful staff member. The priorities and effective changes that I will need to look at making will be focused on being the best teacher I can be for those students as well and ensuring that I do not ‘drop the ball’ in relation to my Whole College eLearning Role. I already know this will be a challenge. The ability to be able to lead and drive learning in my classroom whilst aiming to also inspire change and action with my staff will take some effort. Effort that I say I am more than willing to put in as I have what I believe is needed to fulfill both of these roles and that being a Passion for what I do.

Some of this ‘change’ thought process, primarily once again professionally speaking, has come from my last blog post and hearing Dan Gregory speak towards the end of 2013. The 6 key messages that I took from that session, outlined below, are in fact going to drive a lot of this change that I have mentioned. I have unlike the previous post elaborated on these a little further.

  • Real leadership. Helping people to be what they want to be. Not telling people what to do. 

I am a firm believer in modelling effective Leadership, either modelling that myself or having those above me showcase what it means to lead and show what effective leadership looks like. In my role I am very lucky to be able to work with all staff from Prep right through to Year 12 and because of this I believe that I have the ability in leading staff to become better educators.

  • Being famous for something. Break the mould. Be different. 

The whole idea of creating a brand and a label for oneself is very interesting. I will never forget Kevin Honeycutts keynote presentation at uLearn12  in Auckland where he discussed the importance of ‘bragging’ about what you are good at and telling everyone about your successes. The need not to be humble and the fear of one looking arrogant if they do. What I can be famous for… I am yet to decide! 😉

  • Diversity and collaboration is about making a group smarter collectively. Not about playing nicely. 

Being back in a teaching role and working within a team and sub school and having more direct contact with staff with our Middle Years will allow me to showcase and work on my leadership skills. I love this quote from Dan as it amazes me when I see teachers receive criticism for anything about their professional practice the large majority immediately turn defensive and see it as a negative and personal insult. Because of this I have also witnessed leaders reluctant to speak to staff for the fear or a simple professional conversation being turned in to WW3! I plan to be more open and honest in the attempt to better the teaching practice of others. To do this in ways that is not only conducive to the individual, but the teams that people are working within.

  • Achieve wins. Prove what you’re doing works! 

Having spent some time with Narissa Leung (Leading Teacher ICT / Curriculum at Campbells Creek Primary School) mid to late last year via the Department of Education’s ‘Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century” Professional Learning series, I had the chance to hear Narissa speak as a guest keynote presenter. One of the comments that she made links beautifully to the above statement in that she aims to find research based evidence to support and back up the work that she is doing. To have that hard evidence that the decisions being made are the right ones and that actually work is great thinking . The great thing here also is that with what evidence I cannot locate myself, I can turn in to my own research based evidence / paper.

  • Start a movement that people can participate in. Don’t sell an idea. Create change and let people participate. 

I love this. This relates directly to a TED Talk which I have seen countless times, embedded below, that encourages the notion that it is those directly below the ‘Leader’ who are the real change drivers when starting a movement. I can bang on all day about the wonders of my work and what can be achieved however if those I am preaching to do not get actively involved then it is all for nothing. In a perfect world (school) I wish to be the one igniting those ideas yet have others be the ones who participate, engage with and push the change.

  • Build trust as trust is currency. This creates and fosters change. 

Lastly, this binds the above together. It comes down to being an effective leader and working with teachers to foster change. For staff to have trust in you and what you do is very important. They are so much more willing to follow you and what you do if that trust is there. Last year as part of my eLearning Role, the coaching that I was involved in led to a lot of this trust being developed, something that was a highlight for me personally as it reinforced what I was doing actually was not only working but creating change in the way teachers taught and students learnt.

So there we have it. Reading back I have a fair bit to do! 😉 Or do I? I feel that it is not a matter of out with the old and in with the new, it is about doing things differently and focusing the change I need to make on making those differences.

Lastly, I have embedded another TED Talk by Simon Sinek titled: How Great Leaders Inspire Action. There are some great messages here from Simon that resonate very closely to what it is I want to achieve. Happy viewing!


One Comment

  1. Another great share Corrie. Always a challenge to find that perfect balance. I really enjoyed your elaboration on Dan Gregory’s ideas, definitely left me with a lot of food for thought.
    In regards to change, I found Jason Markey’s short post on the difference between Change & Evolution an interesting reading. http://jmarkeyap.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/change-vs-evolution.html
    Also, I really enjoyed Tony Sinanis’ post on the positives of feedback http://leadingmotivatedlearners.blogspot.com.au/2014/01/feedback-it-aint-bad.html which spoke about many of the same issues that you touched upon.
    Good luck for the year ahead and I hope that it is everything and more that you wish.

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