Talking with a teacher yesterday, she was telling me how much she loved her school. She also told me that she had an exemplary principal who she would follow to whatever school he may go to. I asked her why she thought he was such a strong principal and she had something that I have heard a lot from teachers:
“He stays out of our way.”
Following up on that statement, I asked her what is the vision for the school. She had no idea.
Now I believe that as professionals, we have to really give our teachers the opportunity to be innovative and do things that suit their own personality in the classroom. On the other hand though, as a principal, do we not have to have a vision for our school? I was really interested in seeing Brian Nichols post on Connected Principals today regarding having a clear vision in school as I believe that is essential for bringing schools together. If we continuously talk about collaboration being essential to organizational growth, do we not have to have a clear vision for the path that we want our team to be on?
Chris Atkinson spoke about the “Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership“, and “inspire a shared vision” was one of the main points. As a principal, I believe that when we build strong and caring relationships, we can create a community of learners that encourages creativity and innovation for our entire school, not just our students.
Caring. Community. Creativity.
We have had our entire staff, along with parents, work on our education planning for our school, with student input. Bringing in stakeholders is necessary if we are going to have this shared vision.
It is essential that if we continue to improve our schools, but working in pockets and isolating from one another, so we can do our “own thing” is not the way to do this. Teachers need freedom to be professionals, but our schools also need a collaborative vision where we are pulling from the collective wisdom of our organizations.
Clearing the path for our staff is essential, but shouldn’t we all be on the same road?