Building Relationships and Developing People
Building trusting relationships with and among staff, students and parents Catholic school leaders:
• create and sustain a caring Catholic school culture
Communicating the vision and goals Catholic school leaders:
• ensure that a Catholic vision is clearly articulated, shared, understood, and acted upon
One of our readings for the session was highlighted in a reflective activity about 'cultivating a servant's habits'. The activity proved to be quite thought provoking for me. We have no better model than Jesus Christ when it comes to servant leadership and living a life that is God-centered. I may never be as focused and selfless as Jesus but I can certainly work towards moving closer to the ideal He gave to us. In our course text, Phelps provides us with nine habits that will help us refocus, recalibrate, and recommit ourselves on a daily basis in order to move closer to the ideal that Jesus provided us with:
- Practice solitude.
- Pray daily.
- Read Scripture.
- Worship and receive the sacraments regularly.
- Explore the lives and reflections of saints and Christian scholars.
- Consider sacramentals and devotions that flourish in the Church.
- Accept and model unconditional love.
- Serve others.
- Build community.
For me, the nine habits mentioned above provide wonderful opportunities to create and sustain a caring Catholic school and ensure that our Catholic vision is clearly articulated, shared, understood and acted upon. As Catholic educators, we weave in and out of the habits that Phelps refers to. The key, as I understand it, is to make them part of our everyday lives. This is no small task, but like any other habit it takes time and commitment to build in routines.
Now that I have a good grip on what the habits are and why they are useful/powerful in helping me cultivate a servant's habits, I reflect on what I am currently doing and what I could start doing in order to benefit my school community. How can I further assist (because there are many amazing things in place already) my school community (staff, students, parents) in sustaining a caring environment with a Catholic vision that is understood and acted upon?
The first thing I think of is the Pastoral team at my school. I can check in with them to see if I can assist - if I can serve in a way that will encourage others to participate and possibly serve as well. For many years, at different schools, I have been a member of the Pastoral team. I feel like the experience I am going through right now is a call to return to that type of service in my current school.
The second thing I thought of is our school's social networking website (Edmodo) that we use to communicate announcements to our staff and students. It would be a great way to provide scripture that is relevant to what we are doing and links to Christian scholars and Saints. It is a small step that I can build into my life while providing staff and students an opportunity to adopt into their lives.
The third thing I thought of is the use of Twitter as a tool used to communicate to the masses. With the proliferation of technology, specifically mobile technologies, many people have access to such a simple yet powerful software that can keep them informed of our caring and Catholic vision through the use of photos, video, and text. I currently use Twitter 1) personally and professionally for my own sharing and learning, 2) I have an account for my class to keep parents informed of the real time learning that their children are experiencing, and 3) I tweet food for thought to help staff and students reflect on their faith journey from @WCDSBFaith. Our Catholic school system is valuable and I have found Twitter to be an excellent way to spread our unique and amazing vision of inclusion and achievement.
I have spoken to my Principal about the creation of a school account in order to share the wonderful things happening in our school and to be a model for others who are weary to adopt this type of practice. I'm pleased that he is interested and has it on his radar as he moves forward on his personal journey at our school.
I am always appreciative of the spark provided by the leadership program that ignites my reflection around my journey as a leader. This blog post reflection has offered me some great insight about what I am doing and what I can do in order to in order to align my practice with the Catholic leadership expectations. As we enter into Holy Week I see no better time than to focus in on how I can be more like Jesus by serve the people around me and shining His light on them.