Read This: Becoming the Educator They Need by Robert Jackson — Get Your Copy Today

Read This: Becoming the Educator They Need by Robert Jackson — Get Your Copy Today

Don’t miss this vlog on YouTube or catch our One Thing Series podcast Read This for books you need to read to lead better and grow faster.  

Featured Author: Robert Jackson 

Book: Becoming the Educator they Need: Strategies, Midsets, and Beliefs for Supporting Male Black and Latino Students (click to  purchase on Amazon)

Why We Picked This Book:

  • This book includes real stories about young Black and Latino males, which provides a perspective for a predominantly white workforce in education. We need to know more about our students, and they need to know more about us.  
  • Robert’s book begins with the five factors that impact male Black and Latino students, and educators need to be incredibly aware of them:
    • Invisibilization
    • Marginalization
    • Pre-criminalization
    • Stereotype threat
    • Colorism
  • He challenges educators with a how-to chapter on culturally aware teaching practices. We should be doing a book study on this book in every school. 
  • Robert writes from the heart. By weaving in his own experiences, the book emerges as a powerful testimony to the work that can be done. 

Don’t miss our One Thing Series podcast interview with Robert Jackson where we dive into the book and so much more.  

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

PS — If you have a topic you want us to cover or need recommendations on books to read in a particular area of leadership, just send us a tweet or an email.  

And, let us know if you want to join our next MasterClass on Candid and Compassionate Feedback. If you want to see real growth in your school, click here to reserve your seat or here for more information. 

Lastly, join us in the Principals’ Club, designed to take your PLN to a PLC so that we can support one another in our growth as leaders. We hope to see you there. 

 

 

Principal Leadership: Every School Leader Should Know These 6 Incredible Black Educators–Celebrating Black History Month “Then” and “Now”

Principal Leadership: Every School Leader Should Know These 6 Incredible Black Educators–Celebrating Black History Month “Then” and “Now”

February is dedicated to Black History Month, and although the contributions of African Americans should be recognized every month–woven into all of our learning, celebrations, and acknowledgements–we wanted to take time this month to highlight the great accomplishments that are specific to the field of education. As educators, who grew up in the Christina School District and have worked, and continue to do so, in schools throughout New Castle County, Delaware, we have witnessed the tremendous work being done by African American teachers and administrators. These incredible leaders have accomplishments and stories that must be told throughout every year as schools look to educate their current students and work to build the next generation of educators. We feel that it’s of critical importance to our schools and districts that we spotlight the influences of both past and present African American leaders. These leaders have made and continue to make a huge difference in the lives of students in school and beyond. 

The individuals who are the focus of this piece are not only tremendous educators, but also shine in terms of the opportunities that they’ve created for others in such unique ways. There is a great deal of work being brought to the forefront recently regarding equity and agency, which is central to our focus in education and the reason for our selections below. To write this blog, we evoked what we call “standout educators” who have shaped and influenced the three of us as well as countless others. One such person is Booker T. Washington. Washington’s autobiography, Up from Slavery, describes the endless struggles that he endured and overcame throughout his life. His own formal educational pursuit, traveling over 500 miles to the Hampton Institute and then forming what is now Tuskegee University, has undoubtedly influenced America. Washington’s desire for a quality education and then the way he dedicated his life to a quality education for others changed our way of thinking forever. 

There are so many African American educators, such as George Washington Carver, who was hired by Washington, who we might feature for both inspiration and aspiration. The Black educators who motivate our efforts and captivate our attention are always the ones who have created the greatest change in our educational system. For the betterment of students, and society at large, they have altered what it means to be a teacher or leader in schools. 

We picked six for this blog, and we encourage you to add 6 more in the comments below. Our point is that there are great Black leaders from the past and the present, making a difference for students in a way that will transcend time. The first three are from the past; the next three are friends and colleagues doing the work today. We learn from the past to make connections to a future that will certainly be better for all kids. All kids. 

What we know about these leaders is that they all have the same three qualities in common, something we wrote about in our Passionate Leadership book. They focus on growth, challenging themselves to be their best at all times. They work hard for the sake of making changes that will last; they never shy away from even the seemingly impossible. And, they maintain a positive outlook, even when things seem bleak or desperate. You can learn from both their accomplishments and what they mean to a profession that shapes the fabric of our American culture. 

Three “Then” Leaders in Education

Our “then leaders” are slightly lesser known than maybe someone we could have highlighted that many people know as African American leaders in the field of education. We wanted to do that on purpose to show the contributions of the unsung heroes of our past and to demonstrate that leadership is important at every level. We never know the impact of the work we’re doing in our small corners of the universe, just that it matters now and we hope our legacy lives for another day. 

Marva Collins — Marva Collins is the first of our “then leaders” in education and Black History Month highlight for educators. Collins was unsatisfied with the education that poor black children received in inner-city public schools so she started a low-cost private school in Chicago. She invested her own money and provided a better education for her students at half the per pupil expenditure of the local schools. She was a leader who paved the way for those of us who want to do something different so that all students succeed. 

Kenneth Bancroft Clark — We celebrate Kenneth Clark as the founder of the Northside Center for Child Development in Harlem and the Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited organization. He was a psychologist who made major contributions to supporting young people, specifically in the methods of social work, psychological evaluations, and more. He was the first African American tenured full professor at the City College of New York. The grand scope of his books, publications, and contribution for educating and supporting young people is practically endless–a real educational hero. 

Edwina B. Kruse — Edwina is among a small group of Delaware educators who were committed to African American students getting a quality education during times of exclusion. She was the first Black principal for the Howard School in Wilmington, and through her leadership, the school became one of academic excellence with a rigorous curriculum for what was then the only high school for Black students in Delaware. A little known fact is that the school was practically a boarding school because students from Delaware’s lower two counties often resided with their teachers, members of the community, and even Edwina herself. 

Three “Now” Leaders in Education

It’s always great to review the history books, and being that it’s Black History Month, the history itself is of importance. But we don’t want to ignore that we have friends and colleagues who are making history. Current black leaders in education are laying the groundwork for the future of what education will look like for our students. They impress us with the work they are doing, and although it was difficult to narrow our selection to three, these folks are nothing but the best at what they do for their schools and districts.  

Cynthia Jewell — We wrote about Jewell in Passionate Leadership, and she has been doing nothing but great work since that book was published. She is focused on her own growth so that she can be a beacon of support for others. Recently, she earned a Dare to Lead certificate from Brene Brown. She leads school admin through a virtual PLC process that has transformed online teaching and learning in her district, and she continues to support principal leadership as the guiding force for improving schools. Cynthia is a powerhouse, and we’re happy to call her a friend. You can connect with Cynthia on Twitter at @CynthiaSJewell

Basil Marin — Dr. Marin is a champion. If you don’t already follow him on Twitter, click here and make that happen. He was a 2017 ASCD Emerging Leader and he holds a Ph.D. in educational leadership. His kids-first mentality shines through in every national presentation we’ve seen him conduct, and his focus on equity is making a difference in his school and beyond. You can check out his website here as well. You can connect with Basil on Twitter at @basil_marin

Deirdra Aikens — Simply put, Deirdra Aikens is an impressive educator with an intense resume. She joined us for our Principal Induction Program as a guest speaker, and we’re pretty sure she could have just led the whole evening’s session. She was a principal of a school, a senior director of teaching and learning, and currently serves as deputy assistant superintendent of schools in her district. She’s also a certified Data Wise coach for Harvard Graduate School of Education. She makes a difference across the country, and at home in our great State of Delaware.  

Our “then” and “now” educators are truly impressive and deserve to be recognized and celebrated. The most challenging part of this month’s blog was narrowing our list down to just a few incredible people. One of the joy’s of writing this post was doing the research and uncovering the tremendous “then” educators who have lifted so many students. We know that our “now” educators continue to do the same. 

We want to dedicate this blog to the African-American educators who have left an indelible mark on each of us. If it weren’t for Dr. Sandra Countley, Joe may have never entered into school administration. As a young, novice teacher at Newark High School, Dr. Countley mentored Joe and planted the seed that administration was for him. In a couple short years, Joe was working side-by-side with Dr. Countley at Christiana High where she served as principal and Joe as an assistant principal. Those early formative years of encouragement, support, and belief are guiding principles that continue to motivate him to this day 

In January, the world lost another American icon and we would be remiss if we also didn’t dedicate this post to Hank Aaron who once said, “I am very proud to be an American. This country has so much potential, I’d just like to see things better, or whatever, and I think it will be.” Those words still ring true today, and it is our fervent belief that things will get better because, together, that’s the direction that we will lead.  

Stay tuned for more nuggets of wisdom, podcasts, books to read, reflection sessions, and the best resources for leading better and growing faster in schools. Follow us at theschoolhouse302.com to join thousands of leaders who get our content each month. Send this to a friend. 

As always, let us know what you think of this with a like, a follow, or a comment. Find us on Twitter, YouTube, iTunes, Facebook, & SoundCould. And, again, if you want one simple model for leading better and growing faster per month, follow this blog by entering your email at the top right of the screen.

TheSchoolHouse302 is about getting to simple by maximizing effective research-based strategies that empower individuals to lead better and grow faster.

Joe & T.J. and our guest blogger w/ us this month is Principal EL (Dr. Salome Thomas-EL) 

3 Books You Need to Read to Become a Super-Learner in Education — #readthisseries

3 Books You Need to Read to Become a Super-Learner in Education — #readthisseries

Don’t miss this vblog on books you need to read to lead better and grow faster. We recommend three titles that are must reads on the topic of learning and growing as a leader

Focus: Elevating the Essentials to Radically Improve Student Learning by Mike Schmoker

Instructional Rounds in Education by Elizabeth City, Richard Elmore, Sara Fiarman, and Lee Teitel

Brain Rules by John Medina

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

PS — If you have a topic you want us to cover or need recommendations on books to read in a particular area of leadership, just send us a tweet or an email. 

And, let us know if you want to join our next MasterClass on Candid and Compassionate Feedback. If you want to see real growth in your school, click here to reserve your seat or here for more information. 
Lastly, join us in the Principals’ Club, designed to take your PLN to a PLC so that we can support one another in our growth as leaders. We hope to see you there.

4 Often Overlooked Strategies to Learn as a Leader — #SH302

4 Often Overlooked Strategies to Learn as a Leader — #SH302

Great leaders recognize that their own learning is directly correlated with their actual effectiveness. ~ TheSchoolHouse302

Anyone who is interested in growing as a leader should also be attentive to the speed at which they acquire new knowledge, skills, and abilities through learning. The concept of learning is an art and a science, and if we want to lead better and grow faster, we need to focus our efforts on being a super-learner in the areas that matter most to us.

Unfortunately, leaders are busy people, swamped with duties and responsibilities. Whether you are a principal, teacher-leader, or instructional coach, great leaders serve others. And, while servant leadership has grown to be a widely accepted leadership model, it’s often mismanaged and becomes a one-sided, output driven, approach. In other words, leaders who embrace the servant leadership theory, commonly confuse this method as solely aimed at providing for and serving others, versus also receiving growth experiences for themselves.

The problem is that when leaders fall into this one dimensional style of servant leadership and only address the people they serve, their personal mechanisms for learning stall. The old adage applies: “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” Learning and growing as a learning leader really is like a bank account; you cannot continue to make withdrawals if you do not make deposits.

The good news is that serving others is the foundation to serve oneself. Being grateful and giving to others are both strategies for renewal and servanthood. That said, those aren’t strategies for which leaders learn, grow, and acquire new knowledge. They are great ways to energize our efforts, but they don’t always provide the novel skills and abilities that leaders need as we progress in life and work. That’s why we’ve curated the four best strategies from our #onethingseries podcast to present here so that you can use them to learn and grow as a leader.

Being a servant leader includes serving yourself, and that means adopting a mindset that embraces learning as much as you can along the way. If you want to excel at being a servant leader, you must also be what we call a “learning leader.”

Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. ~ Brene Brown

#1. Be Vulnerable — Always think like a novice, never overestimate your own expertise.

Vulnerable leaders are “more interested in understanding reality than in being right and are not afraid to accept that they are wrong” (Edmondson & Chamorro-Premuzic). This vulnerable approach brings leaders into a learning-centered state rather than one where we need to know the answers. Especially during uncertain times, leaders need to be aware of their limitations. It takes courage to express our invincibility, but it allows us to see ourselves more clearly and take action that results in new learning. There are several key ways that we can engage with the act of being vulnerable. In the realm of learning faster, the critical resolution is to commit to self-improvement and to be open to criticism. The important mental model is that we think like novices and openly share our work for others to provide feedback.

Technical Tip: Be resilient. Resilience allows for growth and maturity. Coupled with one’s ability to remain vulnerable, it is a powerful combination that leads to explosive growth. One key to being resilient is to simply recognize when you’re anxious, which makes it challenging to lead with confidence.

Practical Strategy: Ship your work early. You’ll never know if something is going to be good enough until your audience gets to see a version of it. Whether you’re working on a memo, a blog, or a painting, let your audience comment on how it’s going before it’s done or at least before you think it’s done.

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. ~ Albert Einstein

#2. Be Curious — Don’t assume that you know something in depth when you may only have a very cursory knowledge of the subject. 

A great example of a lack of curiosity in practice is education’s application of Professional Learning Communities. We hate to admit it, but the concept of a PLC has been grossly over employed to the point where PLCs have become the nomenclature used as a substitute for what we would consider a commonly scheduled meeting. Just because a group of people are coming together to discuss a topic, doesn’t mean that they’re conducting a PLC. Even if the group is coming together to solve a problem or learn something new, it doesn’t technically fit the description of a true PLC. That said, if we are genuinely curious about how PLCs should work to benefit students, we would study them in depth. We assume too much about our own understanding of the concept, and we move forward, often erroneously. In his book, Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It, Leslie calls curiosity a muscle, a natural part of us that atrophies without regular intentional exercise.

Technical Tip: Dive Deep. Learn to study a subject in depth over a period of time. Commit to a list of readings, not just one book or a single article. Develop your own curriculum and create your own learner-directed certificated program in the subject.

Practical Strategy: Block time for yourself as a learner–literally schedule time in your calendar for reading and researching. Because leaders are so busy, if you don’t schedule learning in your daily calendar, it likely won’t happen. We tend to rise to our level of incompetence, not because of a lack of skills but rather a lack of skill development.

With a versatile player, there’s no spot on the court where you can’t pass him the ball. You can do anything. ~ Kevin Durant

#3. Be Versatile — Expand your willingness to use multiple modalities as a learner.

As humans, we crave and desire consistency–consistency in how we feel, think, and act, even when it may be to our own detriment. Developing and honing our particular skill set through a preferred medium is fine, but it is through our ability to adapt, maneuver, and respond within different learning contexts that we achieve explosive growth. In Building a Winning Team, we describe the power of cognitive diversity and how it “accelerates learning and performance in the face of new, uncertain, and complex situations.” This is not only true for ourselves but particularly true for our students who benefit from experiencing content in multiple ways.

Technical Tip: Understand yourself. Know your learning preferences and also recognize that the concept of learning styles has been debunked. You can learn from multiple methods, and you should. People tend to approach learning in the way that they feel suits them best. You have far more capacity than that as a learner, and comfort may be getting in your way.

Practical Strategy: On the subject that you’re committing to learn, search for at least one book, one article, one podcast, and one video. Don’t just read, listen, or watch…do all three. Your brain will thank you.

A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open. ~ Frank Zappa

#4. Be Open-Minded — Often there are multiple perspectives that must be explored and considered. 

Not only do we tend to fall into our own traps of thinking and doing, there are other powerful reasons for our lack of perspective in life and work. Google and other social platforms force us into the spaces that we’ve already explored. Through cookies and other search optimizations, our digital world is limiting our perspective and creating our environment for us. In fact, Andrew Arnold, in his Forbes article, wrote that “social media is a major influencer when it comes to the purchasing decisions of millennials. In fact, 72% of them report buying fashion and beauty products based on Instagram posts.” To learn more and grow faster, you actually have to challenge what you would typically accept to be true, even if you’re accessing a database of information. As learners, we are obligated to not only expect but to respect all the perspectives on any given subject, not just the one or two that we know best. Even what we hold to be absolute should be consistently revisited and analyzed with a new lens. Reitz and Chaskalson call for this perspective seeking open-mindedness to be done with teams, which provides us with what they call a “meta-awareness.” “Meta-awareness is the capacity to observe and describe experiences from an individual, team, and system-wide perspective rather than being confined solely within any individual’s personal experiences.”

Technical Tip: Enhance your life. Learning to be open-minded enriches your existence. Your ideas, thoughts, values, and goals evolve and expand when you are open to receiving the goodness that the world has to offer. By gaining a greater understanding and an enhanced perspective, you become more versatile in your decision-making ability. Much of this comes from the practice of mindfulness. Don’t miss our podcast interview with the authors of The Mindful School Leader for tips and tricks to use throughout your day.

Practical Strategy: Ask questions of the most diverse players on your team, especially the ones that don’t look like you or have your same background experiences. Here’s a sample question: If there was a way to improve our ability to think creatively together, what would it be? You can find other questions, embedded within an “inquiry” approach to perspective finding in the HBR article cited above.

That’s our model for leading as a learner. If you remain vulnerable, practice being curious, take steps to exercising versatility, and position yourself with an open mind, you will learn more and faster than ever before. That’s what the world requires of its most powerful leaders today. If you stop learning, you also stop leading.

Stay tuned for more nuggets of wisdom, podcasts, books to read, reflection sessions, and the best resources for leading better and growing faster in schools. Follow us at theschoolhouse302.com to join thousands of leaders who get our content each month. Send this to a friend.

As always, let us know what you think of this with a like, a follow, or a comment. Find us on Twitter, YouTube, iTunes, Facebook, & SoundCould. And, again, if you want one simple model for leading better and growing faster per month, follow this blog by entering your email at the top right of the screen.

TheSchoolHouse302 is about getting to simple by maximizing effective research-based strategies that empower individuals to lead better and grow faster.

Joe & T.J.

Read This: Becoming the Educator They Need by Robert Jackson — Get Your Copy Today

3 Books You Need to Read to Build Habits and Mindframes for Excellence in Life and Work — #readthisseries

Don’t miss this vblog on books you need to read to lead better and grow faster. We recommend three titles that are must reads on the topic of hacking excellence for educators

The Mindful School Leader by Valerie Brown and Kirsten Olson

10 Mindframes for Leaders by John Hattie and Raymond Smith

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

PS — If you have a topic you want us to cover or need recommendations on books to read in a particular area of leadership, just send us a tweet or an email. 

And, let us know if you want to join our next MasterClass on Candid and Compassionate Feedback. If you want to see real growth in your school, click here to reserve your seat or here for more information. 

Lastly, join us in the Principals’ Club, designed to take your PLN to a PLC so that we can support one another in our growth as leaders. We hope to see you there. 

4 Excellence Hacks Every Educator Needs to Know — #SH302

4 Excellence Hacks Every Educator Needs to Know — #SH302

Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude. ~ Colin Powell

Excellence occurs primarily in two fashions: 1. Efficiencies–the things we get faster at doing so that our capacity is greater, and 2. Effectiveness–the things that we do that have an extreme impact given their intended outcome. It’s worth drawing these out a bit further so that we’re clear about what makes for excellence before we dive into some of education’s super-hacks for teachers and leaders. 

First, take a look at this 2×2 grid from InsightSquared. It is a simple, yet powerful, representation of the cross section between pursuing the right work and using the right resources–effectiveness and efficiency. Although this grid focuses on cost, we can easily replace it with any other aspect of teaching or leading in schools, such as lesson planning and the use of certain strategies in the classroom. Our later example, as in the use of homework, is often done with good intentions to increase learning but doesn’t yield the outcome we expect. As such, the teacher is pursuing the right goals, but with the wrong resource. This is an issue that we experience frequently, and, in order to achieve excellence, we need to do the right things, the right way.

With that in mind, let’s consider both concepts–efficiency and effectiveness–at once and then each separately. Although, efficient and effective are associated with one another, they are not the same thing. One is about getting faster and doing more, the other is about having a greater influence. A problem can occur when we value one over the other, though, because efficient can actually be the enemy of effective. In other words, people can get really good at following a process that doesn’t have the intended impact. 

Let’s revisit the concept of assigning homework. In the case of mathematics, we might use an assignment of 15 practice problems. Teachers (and students) can get quite efficient at assigning, completing, and grading homework, but that doesn’t mean that it’s an effective learning strategy. Quite the contrary, most homework strategies, unless used for retrieval practice or another research-based independent assignment, don’t have an effect size higher than about .28 versus implementing a flipped classroom, which has an effect size of .58

Comparing homework to a flipped classroom, which typically introduces the new learning outside of the classroom and creates opportunities to review and practice within the classroom, like homework is supposed to do, is a perfect demonstration of the difference between efficient and effective. We can efficiently do one (homework) without being effective, and we can easily implement the more effective one (flipped classroom) without being efficient (takes tons of the teachers’ and students’ time to do).  

But let’s dive deeper into the positive aspects of being efficient. Simply put, people who are efficient can get more done than people who aren’t. There are two ways that we become more efficient at any given task. The first is no secret: we practice long enough that we get better and faster at doing it. Anyone who does something over-and-over again will get incrementally better at it. The problem with this first solution is that it takes time, maybe even years, to become more efficient at many of life’s greater challenges. That’s why the second way is so important because it’s not just about the person becoming more efficient but rather uncovering “efficiencies” that can be applied as strategies. 

When we understand efficiencies in the completion of a task, we can complete the task faster, even if we’re new at it. That’s why, as long as efficiencies don’t become less effective, being efficient can allow you to do something faster, more accurately, and even more often. That’s when the concept of efficient bleeds into the concept of effectiveness. Being effective isn’t the same as being efficient because, given the case of the flipped classroom from above, if the effectiveness takes forever, it still reaps its benefits but the benefits aren’t timely. 

In that case, our job is to find efficiencies for an effective task. What are the small steps that we can take in the initial implementation of a flipped classroom that don’t take an incredible amount of a novice-flipper’s time but still count for an impact on learning? Hence, the question that every leader and every teacher should consistently ask: what are the efficiencies in making a change that will have a greater impact on what I’m trying to accomplish? Are there simple ways that I can lead better and grow faster that take less time than other strategies and garner greater results as such? We have the answer for you, embedded within the following four simple yet underused leadership hacks. 

  1. Ask For And Use Feedback Faster: 

Think about how often you’re performing any given task without an observer. Especially for tasks that are new to you, not having an observer is like slamming a bunch of weights on the bar, having no idea if you can bench press that much, and then going for it without a spotter. Even worse, you’re alone in the gym. It’s dangerous. The best hack for getting better at anything we choose to do is by finding someone to give us feedback. We have to ask for it and then use it. And we have to do that faster than we traditionally would. 

Pro Tip: Next time you ask for feedback, don’t reflect on the feedback, implement it and then reflect on the implementation.

  1. Determine Your Accountability System: 

Too often, we set goals without determining the measurements. And, sometimes our measurements are too far off to see gains as we’re trying so hard to form new habits. We say things like, I wanna lose 20 pounds or we need to increase our attendance rates this school year. While those are important and lofty outcomes, they’re not goals and they’re not the type of measurements that will hold you accountable. 

As far as goals go, the first statement’s goal should be something about being healthy or feeling good. The second “goal” should read more about daily student engagement. But, because our goal writing skills suffer so do our measurement and analysis skills. It’s far more realistic and attainable to measure more incremental goals, that’s what holds us accountable from day-to-day and even minute-to-minute. Trying to lose 1-2 pounds this week will keep you from eating the pizza for lunch; 20 pounds with no ending date in sight is a disastrous equation. Celebrating daily and weekly class-by-class attendance is not only superior to an annual number, it uncovers both the bright spots and the places that need our attention.  

Pro Tip: Underpromise and overdeliver. You may have used a strategy like this in your school or business plan, but it works just as well, if not better, with your own mental capacity for reaching excellence. If you tell yourself that you want to lose 1-2 pounds this week, and you lose 2.5, your motivation will skyrocket. 

  1. Predict Pitfalls:

Perceptual acuity is knowing what’s around the corner. Effective educators not only have a great vision but they also see the issues that are up ahead and can properly plan for them. This ability to “see around corners” is not an innate gift bestowed on natural born leaders, but rather a quality possessed by educators who are consciously present. The present leader does three things exceptionally well: 1. Tune In, 2. Presently Lead, and 3. Forecast the future

Predicting pitfalls is directly aligned to forecasting the future since leaders work to build the future they desire. As they are actively building the future, they are continually looking for blind spots that they may be missing or overlooking. As teachers begin a new unit, the pitfall-predicting master will start with a pre-assessment so that they can tailor the lessons that follow to address the actual needs of the students. This is a perfect example of predicting and overcoming a potential pitfall with planning. 

Pro Tip: Seek Counsel. It is impossible to predict every pitfall and issue that you are going to encounter. One great tip is to have a small team of individuals with whom you work and who you fully trust to call out a pitfall in your plan. This is a great component of any high-functioning PLC. Think about this team as similar to the blind spot technology on the side mirror of a car. The true power in this technology isn’t that it alerts you to something in your blind spot, but rather that it prevents you from needing to take your eyes off the road so that you can continue to face forward.  

  1. Set Clear Priorities: 

Every day there are countless things that are competing for your time. As you manage yourself throughout your day, you will need to have a clear understanding of your personal priorities. Priorities are different from goals. Priorities have to be in real-time all the time. While you might set aside time each day, dedicated to a goal that has more of a long term objective, like earning your Level 2 Google Certified Educator, your priorities are minute-to-minute decisions about things that matter most. As an administrator or teacher, you can ask yourself what do I have to do each day that will lead to the greatest impact on student achievement? The answer is going to be something about visiting classrooms, which might not align as directly to your goals as it does to what you need to be doing with your time. That’s why having clear priorities is a hack for daily excellence. 

ProTip: Use the past tense in your morning journal. Hugh Jackman, in a powerful and enlightening podcast with Tim Ferriss, describes how he writes out something as if it already happened. In the morning, he’ll write something like this: “Today, my son and I had the best time together…”  Essentially, Hugh is describing a priority that he wants to manifest on that particular day and actually texts it to his wife but in the past tense. The power is threefold: First, he knows exactly what he wants to happen (sets a clear priority). Second, he shares it with someone who can ask him about it later (holding him accountable). Third, he wills it into the universe for energy and enthusiasm (believing in himself and the world he creates).    

Bonus Hack:

  1. Power Play:

Although we don’t believe in tricks or silver bullets, there are a few power plays that great leaders learn to use over time. All of these suggestions are actually more of a way of thinking than they are actions. When you think in ways that couple things together, kill two birds with one stone, or habit stacking, you are taking advantage of what we refer to as a power play. 

In the world of sports, a Power Play refers to a time when one team has an advantage over the other since an individual may be out of play, in the penalty box or off on the sidelines. Throughout our day, we have the ability to seamlessly work and complete things that give us an advantage by saving us time and making us more effective and efficient. This may sound like a silly example, but, every morning, a great time to pack lunch is while the Keurig brews each pod of coffee. It’s a simple thing to do while the Keurig warms up and then each pod brews. Because we often make our significant others a morning cup as well, we even have more time to make a healthy lunch. While some folks will stand there, waiting for their morning mug, efficiency and effectiveness hackers use that time to couple two tasks in one. 

Pursuing excellence is a journey. The above mentioned hacks are easily doable and will transform the way you work as a teacher or leader. Just one of the hacks can change your efforts from slow and monotonous to quick and impactful. The key to excellence is knowing how to be efficient and effective at the same time so that one or the other doesn’t get in the way of your success. Let us know which hack you use this week. 

Stay tuned for more nuggets of wisdom, podcasts, books to read, reflection sessions, and the best resources for leading better and growing faster in schools. Follow us at theschoolhouse302.com to join thousands of leaders who get our content each month. Send this to a friend. 

As always, let us know what you think of this with a like, a follow, or a comment. Find us on Twitter, YouTube, iTunes, Facebook, & SoundCould. And, again, if you want one simple model for leading better and growing faster per month, follow this blog by entering your email at the top right of the screen.

TheSchoolHouse302 is about getting to simple by maximizing effective research-based strategies that empower individuals to lead better and grow faster.

Joe & T.J.

Claim Your FREE Copy to Our Praise Practice- Practical Praise Giving Tips for Principals

Claim Your FREE Copy to Our Praise Practice- Practical Praise Giving Tips for Principals

Learn how you can give practical praise each day as you lead your school to develop a better and more positive culture through this complimentary eBook we use in our workshops to help principals all over the nation and subscribe for more resources like this one delivered to your inbox. 

Congratulations on claiming your copy - you may download it here: https://theschoolhouse302.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Technical-Tip-Praise-Practice-A-Model-for-Specific-Praise.pdf