Stop Managing and Lead!

Now is not the time to end with periods, it’s time to start with questions. No matter your role — student, teacher or administrator — I pose these questions:

  • Are you willing to do whatever we can to meet the needs of all students?
  • Are you ready to try something new so you can produce better results?
  • Are you willing to ignore the negative and focus on the positive?
  • Are you ready to learn?
  • Are you ready to LEAD?

I’ll be the first to admit that my perspective is biased. Today when I walked into my office and looked around the cluttered space I saw a total lack of management. An office cluttered because I didn’t take the time to put it back together after a flurry of activity.  An activity that had me digging through old files, rereading sections from the last three or four books I read and compiling notes from online research I had plowed though, guided by my PLN. I admit, in these thoughts I have applied my lens to a big issue, and management and detail are a weakness of mine. I go 100 miles an hour and work like my hair is on fire. I try to do too many things at once. Sometimes I speak when I should listen. I am a flawed leader. I take my lumps with the best of them and admit my mistakes more than I would like. But my belief is strong, we can’t change our system for the better if we spend all our time managing, too afraid to lead.

I have been struggling for a while with the negativity that abounds in education today. Negativity piled upon us because when we simply manage our systems, we let others tell our story.

  • YES, the public is less than enthralled with us as a system.
  • YES, legislators across the State and Nation are bashing us at every turn and enacting legislation for a variety of reasons that will effect our next steps.
  • YES, teachers are feeling the stressful effects of change.
  • YES, our students aren’t “testing” as well as their global counterparts. www.oecd.org/edu/pisa/2009

YES, I could continue for a page or more full of affirmations of negativity. I have made a choice not to, because I “CHOOSE” to focus on the positive……… I choose to lead.

We are leading and learning in the most exciting educational time in history! Opportunities for learning abound. We have a chance to craft and tell our stories in ways some educators never thought possible. That won’t happen if we focus on management. What can happen when we lead is endless and I look forward to those stories being told. For a long time, management and closed door teaching and learning got us by. Getting by has never been good enough for our students. It isn’t good enough for my children and shouldn’t be good enough for yours.

What we do is clear……We educate kids. How we educate kids is clear (insert my lens here)……in single classrooms, based on an industrial model, executed through a time-bound, agrarian calender. Why we do it……..now this where I get excited! Why? Because every child deserves a chance to learn and create, to be prepared for anything and everything when they walk across that stage and we call them graduates. Graduates of one portion of their life, ready to continue to learn in the next stage of their life. To do that we have to focus on educating students for their future, not our past. We have to embrace change and being comfortable with uncomfortable. Willing to live on the edge of our knowledge, moving between success and failure, willing to embrace that we will never arrive.

I am excited for tomorrow, purposely ignoring the negative. I am blessed to be able to lead in an organization that wants to grow and provide personal experiences for our students with exceptional results. I acknowledge the position education has created for itself and work everyday to shake up the status quo, to embrace learning and support educational experiences for adults and students alike. As an educational system we made the bed we have today, but I choose not to sleep there. I get up everyday looking for opportunities to craft a new reality for education.  We won’t eliminate the negative unless we embrace the can’s and find a way around the can’ts. For me, I may not be great at managing, but everyday I look forward to being able to lead. Now is not the time to end with periods, it’s time to start with questions.

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About David Tebo's Ramblings

I am a father, husband and school superintendent who loves to teach and learn. I am passionate about engaging in intellectual conversation around the changing face of education. Are we ready to educate in the digital age?
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