In my last post I was pondering the opening day that will soon arrive and what it will look like. George posted his thoughts about the first day with teachers and the importance of giving them time. In my response to George, I mentioned that time is precious, like water in the desert.

Teacher first, administrator second

My administrative career has spanned 9 years in 7 different schools where I’ve been required to teach. My first principal position was one where I was principal of two schools – blocks apart – and taught 2 classes. These experiences have influenced my administrative practices and how I use the time I have with staff. My biggest concern as a teacher was that most of the time at a staff meeting was spent on things that, really, were informational items. So, as an administrator, I’ve used a wiki to organize and disseminate information to staff. Now I use a wiki for several reasons but the biggest reason is because I also want staff to adding information to the site, contributing to what is going on. Another reason is that there is a calendar option where all events linked to the school can be posted and updated. This means that whatever is happening at the school can be accessed by all staff from anywhere not just on a calendar on someone’s desk. I try to eliminate the need for time-eating meetings and memos by using the tools to save time.

This is the front page of the wiki I used last year. Meeting notes, staff meeting information, team meetings and other information was posted and accessible for all staff.

Another way I try to help teachers and not take up valuable time is through the creation of a school diigo group where staff can share links to sites and articles and build a resource base for PD and for their own interests.

School Diigo Group

This site can be used in a number of ways from teachers sharing online information about subjects to building a pool of PD resources that are directly related to the PD focus for the school or for individual teachers. I also like the Diigo setup because it allows teachers to create a class site where students can share online information and have discussions about the information that is posted – sharing ideas and collaborating on tasks and building their search skills as they have to explain why a particular link is worth someone’s time.

Time – there’s no going back – it’s not a commercial!

As an educational leader, I have to very conscious of how I impact the time of those people with whom I work. I need to make sure that what I am doing is allowing them to have the maximum impact on students so whether it’s time for meetings, individual discussions, PD or other school activities one of my main roles is to ensure that the precious commodity of time isn’t wasted in telling people what they could read on their own – or maybe listen to on their own. Next project, audio memos!