"We can no longer afford to sustain a school structure built for a time long past." ~ Eric Sheninger
The quote above is one that resonated with me immediately after reading it. I received my copy of Digital Leadership - Changing Paradigms for Changing Times by Eric Sheninger shortly after it was released from Corwin. Unfortunately I didn't have a chance to start reading it until last week. Better late than never. Although I am only on chapter 5 there have been times where I have caught myself saying "Yes!" out loud and times of quiet reflection about the path my school is currently on. It was chapter 2 - Why Schools Must Change and in particular the section titled The Time for Excuses is Over that is the inspiration for this post.
During my time as a classroom teacher, learning technologies coordinator and vice principal I have tried to create learning environments that were innovative and engaging for students. Sometimes there were roadblocks. I tried to push the envelope, maybe to the chagrin of my fellow colleagues and administrators. But for me it wasn't, and isn't, about the the adults that surround me, but how can I provide the best possible learning environment for the students in my care. That doesn't mean that adult professional learning isn't important. It's just my personal philosophy to always keep students at the centre of everything.
During my time in education I have heard all the excuses you could imagine. The time for excuses is over! Reading this one section alone has energized me to continue the work on moving my school toward a culture of innovation, infused with technology and pedagogy that engages students in the kinds of learning experiences they need today. Not next month, or couple of years down the road, now. Below are a couple of selections from one small section, less than a page that I believe should energize all educators, regardless of your title or position.
"Ask yourself this: What am I prepared to do to improve all facets of my school? How will I accomplish more with less? Leaders must think and reflect upon the ways to accomplish established goals as opposed to worrying about the challenges, roadblocks, and pushback that one will surely experience. These are all common complications that arise during the change process and should not be excuses not to push forward."
"Succumbing to the negative rhetoric, abiding by the status quo, and having a bunker mentality will do nothing to initiate needed changes in buildings to improve teaching and learning."
"One's passion for helping all students learn and desire to assist staff in their growth should be the driving motivational forces to make schools the best they can be, regardless of the obstacles."
"Digital leadership emphasizes the need for current leaders to be catalysts to drive sustainable change that will transform school culture. Only then will schools produce learners ready to take on the world and able to succeed in a demanding society ever more reliant on digital fluency and an entrepreneurial thought process."
I would love to hear your story or your thoughts on how you are leading, wherever you are, whatever your title.