Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I'm an NTIP Mentor...Finally!

Seven years ago I felt like it was time to take a risk and put myself "out there" by making it known that I wanted to be a mentor to newer teachers. I remember finishing up my teacher performance appraisal and telling my Vice Principal that I was feeling good about my development and that I wanted to be considered as a potential mentor for new teachers. My VP agreed and let me know that he would make some calls about my interest.

Unfortunately, he was told that they didn't require any mentors at that time. I never stopped looking into it. A couple of years later I asked about it again and was told that mentees got to choose their mentor so if I wasn't contacted then I wouldn't be a mentor. Last year I found myself having a conversation with a consultant working within the New Teacher Induction Program (NTIP) who told me that the system for recruiting mentors would be changing. She was correct, a few months later there was a call for mentors and I put my name forward to be considered.

It took seven years but I am really happy (and feel privileged) to say that I am now an NTIP Mentor! A list was put together and I was contacted by two teachers who will be going through the NTIP this school year. I am excited to have the opportunity to build a positive relationship with other colleagues and offer them advice/guidance about the awesome work we engage in on a daily basis.

Looking through the lens of the Catholic Leadership Framework, the opportunity to participate in the NTIP allows me to assist in building relationships and developing people, developing the organization to support desired practises, and improving the instructional program. The opportunity to work on a variety of leadership expectations while formally supporting the growth of others who are relatively new to the profession is welcome.

Aside from offering my perspective and experience to other teachers, I am looking forward to learning from them and seeing/hearing about the awesome things they do to improve their practise and the learning of their students. I look forward to blogging more about my experience as a mentor with respect to the Leadership Framework. This is only the beginning - I look forward to the journey that I am embarking on and the positive changes that come with/from it.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Learning will be Epic - Leadership Perspective

The post that you will find below was posted on my other blog site a few weeks ago. What I want to do here is look at the Innovators Mindset through the lens of the Catholic Leadership Framework that I have been using as I reflect on my leadership journey.

I have not finished reading the book yet but I can already see how this #IMMOOC experience connects to the Leadership Framework in the following ways:
  • Setting Directions
  • Building Relationships
  • Developing the Organization to Support Desired Practices 
  • Improving the Instructional Program
Within each of the broad categories I listed above are specific expectations that I am connecting with as I read the book. It is quite the exercise to read the book for pleasure (my own interest) and for the purpose of assisting me on my leadership journey (my work life). Nevertheless, I believe that the learning that comes from the text will assist me in becoming a more effective leader around innovation and the evolution of what school is and how school leaders do their work. 

For example, if I drill down a bit using the Leadership Framework with respect to Setting Directions, there is a section dedicated to creating high expectations:

From my perspective, I am starting to see how the information in the text can assist me in working on meeting such expectations and this is just one simple example. Through the lens of the Catholic Leadership Framework, I am gaining an awareness of how being innovative can assist me in being an effective leader in my classroom and my school. I look forward to providing more of my insight as I continue to read the book.

The post below is cross posted from the New Fluencies Blog (Sept 11, 2016):

The path that has led me to the #IMMOOC has been an interesting one. I'm hoping that it is an indication of the great learning that is to come. In June, some of my colleagues ( +Jessica Weber  and +Amy Shantz)  who were taking a course together, decided that they wanted to have a book study over the summer months. I read about it on Twitter and told them that I was interested. Next thing you know, I've got a copy of +George Couros' 'Innovators Mindset' book in my hands. However, that was not my first interaction with the text. Months before the local book club opportunity, I was part of a Voxer chat group (thanks to +Jennifer Casa-Todd)  about the book - where I got to interact with a variety of people from around the globe about their thoughts and experiences with respect to the Innovators Mindset. Even thought I hadn't read the book yet, I was blown away by the learning that was coming out of the chat.

While I was participating in the Voxer chat, I experienced something that I can still visualize today, with crystal clarity. I was at a meeting with a group of people above my pay grade (consultants, principals, and senior admin) and one of them had the book. You could tell that it was being used extensively - it had sticky notes falling out of it and it looked worn - great indicators of the value it held for this particular person. Anyhow, I engaged this person and told them that I was participating in the Voxer chat group about the book.  They began to share their learning with me and anyone listening to us could see and hear the passion with which this person was talking about their experience.

This next part is what has stuck with me over the past few months: this person said to another person (both of whom I respect and look up to) "If you're not learning, you're dying" and the response from the other person was "well, that would explain all the corpses I have been seeing lately!". Wow! That is when several things hit me. First, I thought, I need to get myself in gear and keep bumping up my learning journey. Second, I knew that I needed to put the Innovators Mindset book on my learning journey.

I started reading the book this summer and then I saw a tweet referring to a post that George wrote to see if people were interested in participating in an Innovators Mindset MOOC (Massive Online Open Course). I filled in the form and crossed my fingers that enough people would do the same so that George would proceed with his idea. I shared this opportunity with my District by posting it to our Google + page and told my close friends about it. You can imagine how happy I was when I found out that the MOOC would be running!

The Facebook Page for the MOOC is buzzing and people are posting links to their blog posts about joining the MOOC and what they hope to gain from it. I am looking forward to connecting with people, learning with them, and sharing my learning so I can establish an innovators mindset. I believe that it is worthy of making this mindset a habit. What I am loving so far is that we are already establishing an Innovators Mindset by trying new things and pushing ourselves in order to learn and grow in a way that we may not have experienced before. People are leveraging Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Voxer, and who knows what else to learn and connect.

The learning will be epic. Looking forward to connecting and growing with you.