We start the second semester tomorrow, so I took advantage to meet my teachers this morning, due to the Teacher Workday. I did not want this meeting to be simply a distribution of information, but rather an opportunity for me to gather the team together and focus on the start of the semester (which, due to the 4 x 4 Block schedule, is really like the first day of school all over again).
I began by placing the teachers in random small-groups and asking them to do the following:
Discuss "what" as a school, can improve for this semester. But, for everything you list, you must also provide "how" we can improve in this area.
This led to some very good discussion, as the whole group was able to speak freely with their colleagues. I served more as a moderator to maintain the focus, initially by asking for "instructional issues" first. The best aspect was not only allowing teachers to voice "what" needs to be done and "how" we need to accomplish it, but by speaking in front of the group, we can now keep each other accountable for the areas discussed. I frequently told the group, "If it's a few weeks from now and we haven't done it, tell me. Keep me accountable." Crucial convesations!!
After sharing some pertinent information, I transitioned to a key component of the meeting: Encouragement. I showed the following two clips, asking the group to notice the drastically different environments, but consistent actions of both motivators, courtesy of http://www.wingclips.com/ :
"Run Through Me"
"Dare to Climb"
The consistent factor is constant encouragement, regardless of how many failures or how many attempts occur.
I quickly transitioned my meeting by sharing one of my all-time favorite quotes, by Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." This quote has become a mentality that I find crucial to my role as a leader. It also was the "team quote" of my 2010 team, which won the conference title, maintaining an almost contagious amount of enthusiasm every day, especially during matches. Other coaches actually complained that my players were "too spirited" and there was "No place for all those 'Let's go's' and 'Come on!'s' that you would frequently hear at our matches. This only reassured how powerful enthusiasm can be for those who have created a culture of enthusiasm.
I finished by asking my teachers to bring a high-level of enthusiasm and encouragement every day this semester. I asked my teachers if they possess a genuine enthusiasm and consistently encourage their students, this semester will be a success. Every day.
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The opinions shared in this blog belong to Craig Smith and do not represent the school or district in which he works.