Thinking together, a model for how we interact in schools!

In my work mentoring two principals, we are reading Kim Marshall’s, Rethinking Supervision and Evaluation.   There is a great deal I love about Kim Marshall’s storytelling in the book.  As a former principal, he shares personal experiences about how he hatched, launched and tested his model for effective supervision and evaluation.  The model is based on mini-observations and face-to-face feedback.  In addition to liking his simplified model, I also find hundreds of quotable lines in the book that challenge me to think deeply about school leadership.  I especially like this quote because it caused me to  think differently about how principals might work with faculty as they grapple with ways to help them grow into their work, regardless of their level of experience.  How do we help them become a lifelong learner and teacher?

I didn’t want to reinforce the typical supervisor-teacher dynamic in which the goal is pleasing the boss rather than thinking together about what’s working for students.  page 52.

I particularly like the idea of thinking together about what’s working for students.  It implies a great deal of conversation, collaboration, communication and self-reflection.  Notice, these are some of the 21st century skills that we want students to learn as part of effective schooling.  Don’t we have to integrate them into our own learning?   What if every teacher at every school had this type of relationship with his or her principal, department chair or a colleague?  What if this was a “test” each faculty member had to pass?  What if this was a “test” each of us had to pass in our leadership roles in schools?

It strikes me if thinking together was how we spent the majority of our time, aside from being with students in classrooms, we might have more vibrant learning environments in all of our schools.

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