Don’t forget this…

Ever since I started thinking about being a principal some day, I have kept a list of things I want to remember when I get there. I started a notebook in Evernote and have a note called “When I am principal”.

This isn’t an agenda for how I will run a building someday. That would just be a big mistake. However, the list is a place where I have recorded some thoughts I’ve had on leadership, running programs, and staying focused on what is important.

I check on this list every now and then to see if I still feel the same about what I recorded. Usually the things I have listed stay, which I take as things that are important to remember. But if what I wrote down doesn’t seem relevant anymore, I get rid of it. It’s like reflecting on my reflections.

I hope to use this list to help me remember what I have thought about during my internship, when the weight of the principalship wasn’t clouding my thinking. I hope that in times of frustration, uncertainty, or even indifference, I can return to this collection of ideas and remind myself of what is important.

Here’s my list:

How do you continue to reflect and record ideas worth remembering?

Share it.

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”

This is a quote from Maya Angelou and even though she may have intended it for something completely different, it made me think about how important it is for educators to share their skills and ideas with others.

Much of the work we are doing in schools in Ohio this year is to satisfy new mandates and new initiatives. Many of us are finding it hard to stay innovative and to be willing to take on new ideas because we are busy with the minutiae or we are tired from being busy with the minutiae.

However, I don’t think any of that is going away anytime soon. So, instead of continuing to complain about it, we need to move on and find more sources of inspiration and innovation. That’s where sharing becomes so important.

We need to be sharing our ideas, lessons, books we read, thoughts we have – anything that is important to us because it spurs further thinking and ideas in others. There are so many ways for educators to easily share their ideas – Twitter, Google+, blogging…it’s all there, we just need to access it.

And don’t let your own ideas stop you. When I first got connected through Twitter and started blogging, I was reluctant to share because I thought, “Who is going to think this is a good idea?”. I realized that I needed to change my mindset to, “I hope this helps someone get an idea that will help kids.” That shift in thinking helped me realize that it was important for me to add my voice to the collective conversation.

I love this quote from George Couros about realizing we are the experts. I think it speaks to the importance of sharing our knowledge with others:

When we look at change, we have to realize everything we need is often already within our own organization.  We just have to figure out how to unleash this talent. Isn’t this the culture we want in our classrooms?  It has to be modeled from the top and the way that we view every individual part of our organization.

So, make it a point to start sharing more of your ideas with others. If you haven’t connected on a social media platform yet, get connected. If you have accounts, start using them.

I need your ideas to help me continue to grow as a teacher.