Mentoring Matters for Assistant, Associate Principals and Deans: March 2015
Transform your habits. Learn how to reverse those behaviors that inhibit your ideal leadership-life fit and stick to those habits that benefit you both personally and professionally.
Entrepreneur, weightlifter, author, and travel photographer James Clear offers a brief, easy-to-access guide that teaches us 10 transformative tools:
Get the guide here.
Overcome Obstacles and Stay Focused on Improving Teaching and Learning:
Four barriers impede successful leadership. Recognize these obstacles, practice the skills to help overcome them, and transform your leadership!
John D’Auria’s article in February’s Kappan magazine sheds light on four leadership hurdles that can be readily avoided by cultivating and practicing specific skill sets.
Obstacles and Corresponding Skills that Can Help Overcome:
1.Undervaluing the importance of culture.
By learning and practicing the skill sets associated with building trust, strengthening a growth mindset*, and cultivating the art of feedback, school leaders can most positively shape school culture.
2.Being distracted from improvement strategies by day-to-day demands/problems.
When administrators communicate a clear, shared vision; adhere to a set of core values; align resources to that vision; and hold members of the organization accountable, they keep the focus of their leadership grounded in a cycle of improvement.
3.Balancing our focus on what we are doing with the effect of what we are doing.
Administrators need to develop habits and routines for assessing their effectiveness and assist their teachers in doing the same. They need to learn what works and for whom and then to adjust their practice accordingly. A number of protocols can be learned and practiced to support administrators in this endeavor.
4.Underestimating the importance of skillful practice.
D’Auria notes that three competencies comprise skillful practice:
By recognizing these obstacles and practicing the skills that can help avoid them, school leaders can improve the learning for all members of the organization.
D’Auria, J. (2015). Learn to avoid or overcome leadership obstacles. Kappan, 96(5): 52-54.
*You can read more about a growth mindset by accessing Carol Dweck’s article.
Contributing to a Growth Culture via Feedback:
Feedback is the most robust instructional activity in which we can engage. ~Hattie
When we share feedback with teachers about their work, we model how they can use feedback with students.
Begin by asking your teacher/s how they want to receive feedback. Know your outcome—be crystal clear about what you want to have happen. Know your teachers; read their body language; and be aware of how your message is being received.
Nothing happens at the behavioral level--you need to get to the values/beliefs level. So, sending someone to observe another teacher who is doing something well won’t change the behavior of the teacher who needs help unless you address values and beliefs.
How do your beliefs about student learning/growth drive your grading practice?
How do your beliefs about student learning/growth drive your evaluation practice?
Giving Feedback Requires
Read and discuss this scenario-based activity below to gain insight into effective approaches in providing feedback and fitting applications for each.
What approach (stance) would you take as the administrator in each of these scenarios:
Energy Givers, Takers, and Wasters
See what this assistant principal has learned about making the most of your energy to lead!
These lists are intended as a guide—we encourage you to process in your mentor-mentee team to identify other items that may need your attention!