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People During the Day, Paperwork at Night

people during day

The phrase people during the day and paperwork at night was shared with me by Dr. Tarason when I was working on my administrative degree and one I try to take to heart.  Leaders have to be visible and accessible during the day to students, staff, and stakeholders.  This can be tough at times due to parent meetings, dealing with discipline issues, IEP meetings etc…but it has to happen.  Working/evaluating/observing/conversing with staff members has to be priority number one because that will move a school forward; this can directly impact student achievement, teacher performance, and overall school culture.  Todd Whitaker discusses the need for improvement mode in his book What Great Principals Do Differently.  He states leaders need to “get out of our reactive mode and into an improvement mode” (p. 44) or else we will let problems consume our days.  This speaks to the need of getting in a classroom where a majority of the referrals may be coming from or a teacher in need of instructional feedback.  Whitaker goes on to say that great leaders “focus on instruction-proactively visiting classrooms and improving teacher-to reduce discipline issues”.  I agree with all of these statements; the favorite part of my job is working and talking with both students and staff.  I love talking to students about what they are learning, joining a Kahoot activity with classes, and discussing topics with students that will make our school better.  I also love working and talking with staff.  Clear Spring High School has an excellent faculty that is passionate about their content and wanting to deliver that content in the best possible way to each student daily.  I was lucky enough to sit with two teachers yesterday to plan an activity for Monday.  One teacher is wanting to increase their technology usage so we planned an activity where students would use Google Docs to collaborate on an activity and then share their final product with the teacher.  First up, this teacher is an excellent teacher who accepted my challenge to incorporate more technology in the classroom; our conversation stemmed from a PD I ran on Google Drive as part of our differentiated PD.  Second I applauded this teacher for stepping out of his/her comfort zone and wanting to try something new as a means of engaging our students (doing what is best for students is and always will be priority number 1).  I was excited to be able to sit with a staff member and discuss technology, model how to use it, and encourage it’s ok if the activity does not go perfect.  This does not happen if I was stuck in my office all day and I was lucky that my principal agreed to meet with any students during this class period.  I also wanted to thank Mrs. Amy Kelly because she was able to work with us and provide feedback and suggestions as well to make the activity engaging and offer support for the other staff member.  Clear Spring has a great faculty; teachers are always working together and helping each other to make it the best school in Washington County.  If administrators are the instructional leaders or lead learners of their building, then it’s imperative that we work with our staff to demonstrate this (Run PD offerings, provide feedback to staff, offer them tips on instructional practices, model/use/offer new instructional technologies, plan personalized and differentiated PD, etc…).  Paperwork can wait until after the school day- take the time during the day to meet and converse with staff and stakeholders.

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