Monday, February 3, 2014

Learning from week 1 2014

Leading a large and diverse faculty has always been a challenge, and I believe it always will be. There is a constant battle between trusting staff with responsibility and maintaining equity and consistency. My previous experience has found that the more responsibility I leave to team members and team leaders, the greater the inconsistencies in application which results in inequities for students. However as a leader I am not a fan of micromanagement or prescripted approaches.

For this year, I have decided to personally identify the non-negotiables. These are the items / actions / behaviours that I absolutely want consistency and equity for. These non-negotiables were displayed in our initial faculty meetings for 2014 and will be reinforced through notices, assemblies and posters to be displayed throughout the school. For your interest, these non-negotiables for 2014 are;

  • non participation in class managed as per the provided flowchart (you can view this flowchart here)
  • equipment is to be stored neatly after use
  • all alternate arrangements for assessment are to be approved
  • hats and sunscreen are compulsory
  • teachers are to read and action the weekly HPE briefing
Sounds like simple stuff, but maintaining consistency here will be a challenge. At the end of week 1 I already have equipment storage issues, student participation issues and sun safety issues due to teachers failing to uphold these expectations. The challenge for me now is how do I respond? In the initial faculty meeting I informed them I would be holding them accountable, now I need to take the time to uphold that expectation of myself.

My most prominent responsibility at the beginning of the year is timetabling - developing programs that ensure equitable access to facilities and resources. This is really like a big jigsaw puzzle. For this I have always used a spreadsheet. It is a visual way for me to match programs to facilities and ensure clashes do not occur.

Communication within the faculty is effective from our Sharepoint Team Site. We are somewhat limited in functionality in our organisation's implementation of Sharepoint, but managing people and groups with subscription to announcement lists is the preferred way of communicating with teams. Each subject in the faculty has a team leader who posts announcements on the Sharepoint for all to access. This is critical as all faculty teams have members who do not reside in the HPE staffroom.

Faculty and team leadership this year will be assisted through the use of OneNote. In my personal life I  much prefer Evernote, however within the organisation Evernote is blocked by the "all knowing" filters and we are provided with OneNote. This is in its infancy within my faculty and already has some teething issues. I am a little shocked that some adults do not understand the concept of a shared resource. In my professional life and personal life lately I have lost important files because someone with access to the shared resource decided they no longer needed it so hit delete! It seems I need to educate on the management of personal resources vs. shared resources. These incidents have resulted in further backup routines that I perform regularly.

So what did I learn in this first week?
  • non negotiables mean nothing to the individual teacher unless they see their responsibilities towards them.
  • I can trust my team leaders to lead curriculum development.
  • My team leaders want my guidance on the direction of their curriculum development.

No comments: