First published in NAPP My Portfolio 19 January 2016 – added to WordPress 29 June 2016
It seems ages since the NAPP 2016 Cohort started expressing interest in NAPP. For some of you that would have been in November 2014 when we first set up the 2016 NAPP Applications group. For others it was close to 29-30 September 2015.
Some say that aspiring principals should be thinking about and even planning for principalship years in advance. While this is laudable in reality aspirations about school leadership seem to appear/develop as circumstances merge to offer opportunity to reflect about leadership.
Comments and suggestions made by principals seem to be powerful parts of growth into being a school leader but often the evolution of lifes patterns and changes that occur within a school or district offer new view points and aspirations.
As our children grow up we as teachers get the chance to focus on our own professional lives and not just on the growth of our own offspring and the children we teach. Aspiring to be a principal becomes a way of thinking and reflection.
Giving focus to our thoughts and reflections is a challenge – how can we ensure our focus is giving us a great return for time invested?
Jan Robertson in her Think Piece for Educanz in 2015 provides a basis for us all to consider as we contemplate growing into being a principal. Her list of Characteristics of effective educational leaders sharpens our appreciation of why we need to reflect and learn across a wide range of leadership themes. (note this link may be slow to open).
The “knowing how to learn deeply from the every day work of leadership” is a demand for thinking, listening and questioning to explore the depth of a schools learning contexts and culture.
I wonder how many step up into NAPP because of a conscious or unconscious need for the means to learn in depth about leadership? This stepping up includes a clear commitment to spending time on learning in depth.
How do we get the time to reflect and learn in depth?
A solution to this time problem seems to be to make learning and reflection the work we do as leaders. By this I mean treating all work and in school situations as part of our learning – for this to work we need to be listeners in depth (listening twice as much as we speak?) to the voices in our school communities. These voices must include all. Especially those with different views and appreciations to our own.
Aspiring principals accept that reading and reflecting time is part of their learning life.
Both of these solutions link closely with the need to publish and share your own thinking. Time taken to work through your understanding then write down important parts of it can be said to be the most powerful learning we do.
Especially if we allow others to give us feedback and suggestion about our views and understandings.
In NAPP we push you into keeping a journal/blog about your inquiry and share this with your learning partner (and perhaps your PLG as a whole). Our belief being to ensure that you are using your learning to expand your network of learning.