Self-reflection- it’s key for progress.

Every night I think to myself about my day at work. My mind runs ninety miles an hour thinking if I did everything I needed to do, and if I did it with gusto, flare, purpose, passion, honesty, pizazz, and in a caring manner. As an instructional leader, I have many irons in the fire at one time, and it can be challenging to ensure that I take care of the needs of students, teachers, and the campus so we are successful and are progressing towards our goals. For this reason, I am constantly reflecting on my day.

For teachers, many of them reflect, but many do not. In the 1970s, Lortie (1975) described how failing to reflect on teaching decisions leads to teaching by imitation rather than intentionality. Teachers who enter the educational profession have already had years of “observation” as students themselves and have developed preconceived ideas of what teaching is through having watched others do it. Depending on the types of teachers they had growing up could very well be the same type of teacher they become and mimic in the classroom. My problem with this is that today’s students are not the same students that they were in the classroom. They do not learn the same way, and resources have changed as well.
With this said, I ask educators two questions.


Many times when I think about my day, in my head, I may have figuratively pointed the finger at a staff member for something that occured; when after self-reflecting, I find that I could have done something differently to help the situation. I always tell others not to point the finger at anyone because there are three more fingers pointing back at yourself. Self-reflection is key for your own progress and in any system.

Happy reflecting!

Lortie, D.C. (1975). Schoolteacher: A sociological study. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Lead Like a PIRATE – Passion AND Patience

Shelley Burgess

If you are an educational leader, I hope you lead with PASSION!  Highly effective leaders are passionate.  They know who they are, they know what they love, they know what they stand for, and they bring this with them to work in one way or another everyday.  The passion is contagious, and highly effective leaders have a knack for helping those around them ignite their own passions and capitalize on them.  I love walking into schools where passion is evident.  There is a hard to describe energy that radiates within the walls and around the campus, and it takes a passionate leader to create this.

One of the early mistakes I made as a leader was believing that what I was passionate about would quickly be what everyone else was passionate about.  I actually thought that when I got excited about a new and better way of doing something and…

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Minus 10 for what?

Assessing for true knowledge of content really isn’t all that hard. What do we want our students to know? What was the objective? What did the teacher use to see if the student learned the information?
Where I have trouble is the grade that is going down in the grade book. I remember the days of when I took points off for no name and days late, etc. I see a bigger picture and it is two fold.
1. Subtracting points for a child forgetting to put their name on a paper does not really tell you whether they understand what you taught. It really tells you that you have a child that was not responsible or forgetful.
2. Taking points off for late work has the same outcome. The child was not a responsible student or forgetful or even lazy.

Teaching responsibility is hard to do.

So, when looking at a report card or progress report and the grade is a 65, is it truly based on their knowledge or is it based on irresponsible ways of children?

I know this is a battle we have been up against forever. It is hard to justify a smart kid failing for not putting their name on the paper! That’s my two cents about it.