As a principal I see myself as the “head teacher” more than the “principal” although I have to wear that hat sometimes and think about budgets and renovations and schedules. But my passion is teaching and student engagement. My goal in life is to work in a school where every kid has a great day of learning every day. I’m lucky to work with teachers who are willing to go on the journey with me. Our motto is “Try something new; No one will die”. As teachers we need to allow ourselves to look at our observations of student learning and behaviour, look at the research, and try new things. It doesn’t matter if we get it exactly right at first. What matters is that we care enough to think “what if????”.
I also dabble in speaking and workshops. In 2016, I gave a Tedx talk “Spiralling the Curriculum to Get Sticky Learning“. I work alongside teachers, consultants and principals to look at curriculum design and teaching practice. Teachers change their practice when their students are successful. Professional development needs to be about supporting teachers in trying new ideas not about telling teachers that a certain practice has to be implemented.
A couple of years ago, as principal of a K-6 school in Kitchener, Ontario, I began to write a short piece in the staff weekly memo. The ideas came from discussions with teachers, observations, PD sessions or questions. They tended to reflect my thinking of the week as I interacted, planned and taught with teachers. We referred to them as the “Tidbits”.
Now that I have moved on, I continue to write (or sometimes recycle), sometimes more than others, when something strikes me or makes me wonder. I appreciate the comments, the disagreements and the discussions. I am also happy to respond personally through email: firstname.lastname@example.org