For Leadership Day, I thought simply about being an innovative educational leader, and I wanted to pass along three pieces of advice to consider in your leadership position.
- Break down industrial education. We know our current public education system in America was designed to prepare workers for the industrial age. Well, stop. Eliminate unnecessary elements like bells. All rooms have clocks and teachers are competent with telling time, let them. This is very liberating for the teacher when the teacher dismissed class, not a bell. This is just one example of a fossil left over from a bygone age. Seek out these relics and eliminate them.
- Look forward. When planning for upcoming educational initiatives, plan with today’s tools and tomorrow’s ideas. Do not let stubborn stakeholders, state mandates, outdated curriculum, or “that’s-the-way-its-always-been-done” naysayers stand in your way. Yes, you will have to deal with these issues or they will become resistors to change, but don’t begin your planning with these issues holding you back. If there is a problem you are trying to fix, come up with the best solution with today’s tools, then help those who will resist the change to adapt. If your idea is good for education, you will find acceptance!
- Open up. Open your school, to community leaders, to businesses, to parents. If it truly takes all these stakeholders to educate our children, why aren’t they active, every day, in our schools? Why aren’t business leaders “flipping” into our classrooms with educational content? Why doesn’t the local American Legion have uniformed vets in our schools? It seems silly, but OPEN UP! Also, open up with social media. Surprisingly, you will find MANY students, parents, etc. will communicate to you via social media but not in other ways. This year, our parents signed up for parent conferences using a Doodle poll. The poll opened, unannounced, at the beginning of a business day. The link was posted online, and parents found it themselves and signed up before we could even spread the message. Within two days, all my spots were filled, and I had to do very little.
I know some naysayers will critique my ideas as too idealistic (wait, someone would need to read my blog first), but every innovator has had to face criticism. Stand resolute and attempt change. Yes, sometimes you will be defeated, but even Colonel Sanders was rejected over 1000 times before he was able to sell his secret recipe for chicken. He resolved to try again, and the rest was history!