One more day!

As the school year starts, many of us have probably seen This video of teachers in Des Moines flash mobbing (is that a term?  It is now!) to One Day More”from Les Mis.  It’s been all over Facebook and Twitter, and it’s pretty awesome.

But what struck me about this is the lesson in leadership that is evident in this video.  It is obvious that the superintendent is in on this.  The lyrics are built into the PowerPoint; she is proudly waving the school’s flag at the end, etc.  For this I applaud her.

All too often, those first day meetings are terrible and, quite frankly, useless.  Much of the information given out could be sent in an email.  Other times, the speaker (that the school may have paid big bucks for) is dry and uninspiring.  Teachers quickly become resentful of the fact that they could be using the time wisely preparing for their students.  I truly believe that the first day of school meeting is a great opportunity for leaders to set the tone and culture for the year.  The number one goal of that meeting should be for every teacher to walk out excited to teach the following day.

The fact that the superintendent not just allowed this to happen, but also partook in it, demonstrates that she does not consider herself above those she leads.  It also demonstrates that the tone she wants to set for the school year includes a fun and enjoyable time.  Also, if you consider the lyrics, for the most part the focus is on learning and the students.  By participating in this she is implicitly stating that she wants her teachers to enjoy their time at school while maintaining a focus on students.  Good for her!  This is something school leaders everywhere should take note of.

The other thing to keep in mind, is that somebody had to think up this idea, write the lyrics, plan it all out, and approach the superintendent with the idea.  The simple fact that somebody (or a small group) was willing to put in this extra effort is a result of quality leadership.  I commend the superintendent and the leadership team at this school/district, and I hope others notice what was really going on in this video.

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The first day of school

And so tomorrow begins a new school year.  I had a delightful summer of rest and relaxation.  I began the summer teaching summer school and took the month of August off–even from this blog–to spend time with my family and re-energize myself.  As I prepare for another round of new students tomorrow, I begin my 10th year in this profession.  I look forward to new faces and the excitement and energy that comes with the first day of school.  That being said, I’m going to take a moment to put down in writing a few goals for this coming year:

  1.  This year, we are moving even further into competency based education; This means many frustrating PLC’s and department meetings are in my future, but my goal is to remain positive and work to commit myself to compromising with my colleagues.  This isn’t easy for any professional who truly cares, but is truly necessary for my own well being and that of my students.
  2. This year, I am looking to building stronger bonds with my students than ever before.  Just this past week, I presented to the new teachers along with one of my colleagues on the importance of building relationships with students.  I have always considered this to be a strength of mine, but I want to keep it forefront in my mind as the year progresses.
  3. We are officially a google school.  I am looking forward to the opportunities this will present me, and I look forward to exploring this technology with my students.
  4. I love my job, but I also love my family.  I have a beautiful wife and 2 beautiful children (and a beautiful dog).  I cannot let this job overwhelm me and short change them.  As much as I love what I do, I must continue to set those boundaries.

As each of you go off into your school year, I wish you a productive and enjoyable year!