It is fantastic to be back in Canada and I am looking forward to a great year at PSD70. It is amazing how excited many people are to get back to school as there is a world of possibilities of what can happen. Starting the second year of my position, I am hoping to really push the envelope in what we are doing with teaching and learning this year and try to bring our school communities together with each other, as well as the world. The main idea is to inspire our kids to inspire the world. This should be a great year!
Here are some great reads for the week!
1. The 18 Year Old Who Skipped College – Many people in education that are advocates of social media I have seen openly struggle about the idea of going back to university to pursue a graduate degree due to all of the amazing learning that is happening on their own time, while universities are slow to adopt growth. This article, referencing a Washington Post article, highlights some of the options that are available now to students that are coming out of high school and how college might not be the best option:
Is college worth it? Students like Noor Siddiqui choose an option like the Thiel Fellowship because:
- It challenges them to actually do something that matters.
- It summons their problem solving skills in a real-world issue.
- It forces them to budget money and manage people on the job.
- It prepares them for a real career…by paying them to do a project.
College, on the other hand, costs money, consumes a student’s time with papers and hypothetical projects, and produces an average debt afterward of $20,000 (that’s the average graduate’s debt load). That’s not the life most grads want.
I guess my own thoughts for this are how do we make school (K-12) really focus on doing that great work that the author lists, and then, how do we work with universities so that students see them as more relevant and not a future burden on their lives due to debt? This is a great discussion piece for every school and university.
2. Are you sure you’re not a bad boss? – Another great article from the Harvard Business Review that is relevant to not only school administrators, but all educators. The article looks at what the research says about bad bosses, and some of the common characteristics. Here are the first three:
- Failure to inspire, owing to a lack of energy and enthusiasm. Again and again failed leaders were described by their colleagues as unenthusiastic and passive. This was in fact the most noticeable of all their failings.
- Acceptance of mediocre performance in place of excellent results. The poorest leaders did not set stretch goals, inadvertently encouraging mediocre performance by letting people coast along doing less work, less well than their counterparts working for better managers.
- A lack of clear vision and direction. Poor leaders have a murky view of the future, don’t know precisely what direction to take, and are (not surprisingly) unwilling to communicate about the future, leaving their subordinates with no clear path forward.
Make sure you read the whole article and perhaps look at your own teaching/leadership style. What areas can you work on? I know there is a few that I really have to continue to develop.
3. Saving Lives vs. Changing Lives – Chris Lehmann, a friend and inspirational leader, discuss the role of schools in the lives of students. Chris totally understands and discusses how teachers are not the only influence in the lives of our students, yet they still can play a powerful role:
I do believe we are engaged in the work of changing lives. I believe in the transformative school. I believe that a school that engages in deep learning within ethic of care can have a positive and profound impact on the lives of all of those who live in it. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the students and teachers and parents of SLA forever changed my life for the better, and I hope their interactions with me have changed theirs for the better as well. Enough of them have told me so, that I have faith it is true.
What I love about this post is Chris openly expressing that it is not only the educators that change the lives of kids, but, if you are open to it, the students can do the same thing for the educators as well. It is the best profession
I hope that you have a great week! If anyone tells you that a kid can’t do something, I challenge you to show them the video below. It is a great reminder of how amazing kids can be!