Learning from Real Experiences
A tweet is just a thought, not a manifesto. But tweets can make you think.
This week, I had a special opportunity to substitute in a classroom and experience teaching kids in person and at home via zoom at the same time. Not only did it make me realize how challenging it is for teachers, but it also helped me understand a few ways that we could help them.
I tweeted out a message of appreciation to my teachers and check out the response online:
I subbed for a teacher this week & had to teach both kids at school in person & at home via zoom at the same time. Whoa! Every principal & district leader should do this. Way more difficult than people realize. Our teachers are saints. We are asking a lot from them. #ashlandsoar— Dr. Andy Jacks (@_AndyJacks) March 12, 2021
In my conversations with teachers, it’s not just about the technology. I think our teachers are now more tech savvy than they have ever been. I continue to be really impressed watching them in action. Where the frustration seems to grow is when they feel like they cannot have the same impact they would have otherwise had if they had one group in front of them in person only, and not have to split their time between the two groups.
I can’t avoid the obvious connection with how this relates to helping students improve their behaviors. Helping teachers with difficult behaviors in the classroom is more than just sitting in meetings and admiring the problem. If we truly want to help the situation, putting ourselves side by side with that teacher and student should be the first step. Be careful taking suggestions from people who have never met the student or stepped foot in that classroom!
As leaders, we need to be more hands on than ever before to help with this new model of instruction. It’s hard, but we need to both an great manager and inspiring leader. We have to be great at both. A manager is focused on road we are on while the leader is focused on the destination to make sure our road is taking us where we want to be.
Being a really hands-on manager means to be all in for your staff, but more importantly, to allow flexibility in your schedule to let you physically be all in when your staff needs you the most.
Effective leaders balance talking about instruction vs experiencing instruction. Being physically present teaches us different lessons than just hearing teachers reflect later.
We can’t be all in unless our schedule allows for it. Create “opportunity time” that gives you space to fill with ‘emergencies’ as they present themselves.
We got this, but only if we are in it together!