Leading Systematic Change with John Mikton
Take Away #1:
I am a “piggy in the middle”. I am between the teachers and the admin. The advantages of this are that teachers don’t see me as admin and so they are more open and collaborative with me. Also Admin doesn’t see me as a classroom teacher so they are more open and collaborative with me. I find that I have a good understanding of both how and why decisions are made. Also realistic views of how they can affect classroom teachers. I have been very lucky that in both of the schools that I have worked as an integrationist, the gap between teachers and admin has been very small and so I am not too much in the middle but I can imagine that in some schools the gap is wider and teachers in the integration role can be put more in this role.
I see being the “piggy in the middle” as a huge advantage. I am able to dip into both worlds to gather information and data when thinking about decisions. I am able to dip into both worlds to get feedback on ideas, plans and rollouts. I am able to use one group to support the other. I am able to leverage the knowledge of both groups to make decisions for the school.
Take Away #2:
This take away connects #2 from my first Learning2 Post. John made the point that because change is happening at such an exponentially fast rate, teachers feel out of control. So when they say no to things, like new tech, it is sometimes not because they feel strongly against the new tech, but that the tech becomes a change that they can control. So it’s not that they teacher is saying no to ePortfolios, but that they are saying no to a change, because this change is a change within their control.
Take Away #3
One of the visuals shared with us was Peter Segne’s Creative Tension Model where admin and school leadership curate the vision, teachers live in the current reality and teacher leaders are curators of the creative tension that moves teachers towards the vision.
As leaders we need to know the potential of our teachers, even better than they know themselves. Then we have to provoke them so that they can become their potential. I think that this is the hardest part of my job. When I first began and when I moved to Moscow. Learning my colleagues potential is not only crucial it is difficult, but once learned helps me understand how to direct teachers towards their potential. This is why I live in the creative tension zones because I poke teachers towards their potential by creating safe and challenging activities that give them tension but not frustration.
Take Away #4
Rethinking communication is another takeaway I have had from this. How can we better communicate during, before, after and in-between meetings? I think that the reliance on email has created a communication problem that is difficult to solve. The reality is that we need places where we can have conversations in a similar way to how we do it on social media. One – a group, small group, large group, one – one, etc. The issue with these is whenever you try to set one up, the general response is, but I only want to go to one place.
The going to one place being “I only want to have to check my email”. The problem with that is that email is not an efficient way to have small group or large group conversations. I am not sure what the solution is but I do think that something does need to happen!
Take Away #4
This image was used by John to help us to think of times when we have been in any of these roles. There is a time and place for each of them. I found this infographic to be a few good visual of the personality types that I see in a school on a daily basis. I think my take away from John’s session on this is that we need to recognize the stage people are in and understand why they are there before we can move them to another stage. Also that in is not my job to always be in the Leaders stage. Sometimes I am needed to be an eraser of bad decisions or be the wood and allow others to be the leaders to help be grow.