Set Clear Objectives

Establishing clear objectives is an integral part in developing a prioritized list of short- and long-term goals.

By definition, as nouns, objectives are goals that are aimed at or sought.

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Without having a clear understanding of what the end result should be of a project or intention, then setting priorities (things that are regarded as more important than another) is nearly impossible.

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As I have been attending more Teacher Leadership meetings, the role of facilitator has been often mentioned with regard to effective leadership. Ideally, leaders and facilitators have very clear visions of final products. Articulating those goals and visions is crucial to team members to best devise priorities.

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I’m reminded of Wiggins and McTighe’s Understanding by Design through which curriculum is developed backwards (that’s the simplistic way to describing it). In essence, once the long-term goal is understood and articulated, then overarching questions can be developed to guide the unit, with mention of relevant skills and key concepts needed to meet those questions. Designing appropriate, and often times scaffolded, benchmarks (e.g. formative assessments) facilitate the progress made to reaching the end goal (e.g. summative assessment).

Once objectives and priorities are set, trust that those delegated the responsibilities are reliable assets to the team in getting the job done, and getting it done well. Timelines and due dates of meeting short terms goals may not necessarily be set in stone – the work flow is an ebb and flow of fluid, authentic, and organic motions that adjust naturally. And that’s okay. Don’t fret. As long as the product is completed by the agreed-upon deadline, trust in your team.

The other clear necessity when leading is to not micromanage. Checking in is good, but micromanaging is not.

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We all work differently. We all have different ideas in how to approach tasks. Different approaches are not wrong. Yes, some approaches may be less efficient than others, but as long as the end goal is met, and the product is stellar, let it go (in the words of Elsa).

So what’s the point of all of this? To progress, have clear objectives. Done.

Effective Facilitator

Recently I’ve had the privilege of sitting in on Teacher Leadership cohort meetings – both for middle school and high school. Soon elementary schools. Even though the content area is focused on ELA, many of the points of discussion can be applied across contents and departments.

As part of the meetings, discussion about what how an effective facilitator behaves, the two groups reflected on recent meetings and drew upon their reflections to share positive point of good leadership.

I consolidated the points, and I think it makes sense. Here’s the to the progress of effective leadership!

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Breathe Again

No. This isn’t about Toni Braxton’s song. But it’s true that I feel like I can breathe again.

Life sure has its funny ways of twists and turns, and these past few months have been nothing short of those funnies.

And as we know, when starting something new, your head spins, you’re pulled in 100s of directions, simultaneously, your priorities change, and you feel like you’re barely treading water. But through all that, there’s a level of exhilaration that keeps your inspired and motivated.

And yet, only after 5 weeks do I feel like my feet have started to touch the ground and that I am finally making sense of my new path.

So what is this new path that I’ve chosen? I may have left the classroom, but I have not left teaching. Developing and providing professional development for faculty, staff, and admins is my new classroom.

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In addition to providing professional development, I’m closely working with the ELA department in aligning curriculum and standards with purposeful and relevant technologies for instructional and learning purposes. The level of collaboration across departments is intense, in a positive way. It’s a clear reminder how critical clear communication is with clear visions and objectives.

The pace of the progress is slow, but the potential level of progress to be made is immense. Slow and steady wins the race.