Last week I wrote about the need to expand your reach for new innovations and ideas concerning public education to a national scale. This week I would like to refer you to an article I tweeted today on the topic of The Future of Work. In this article (click here to read) the author, Thomas Oppong, states "You may not realize it, but your skills, knowledge and competency (past, present) are either helping you advance your career or hindering your progress in life." I am not referring you to this article to advance your career; I am referring you to it because you are the leader of a school district with students who will need these skills in their careers.
We are definitely in a knowledge-based, rapidly changing world of work. There has been much written about the number of times our present students will change careers in their lifetimes. We need to teach students to gather knowledge, communicate effectively, work in teams, collaborate and have a growth mindset. I love the Alvin Toffler quote in this article, "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn."
I challenge you to visit classrooms in your district this week and to determine for yourself what type of instruction is happening in your classrooms. Are there classrooms where the desks are lined up in rows and columns and the teacher does all the talking? Are there classrooms where students are doing the talking and the learning? Do students know what they are supposed to know and be able to do at the end of each lesson, each unit of instruction, each course or year of instruction? Do the teachers expect all students to learn and do the students know the teachers expect all students to learn? Are students allowed to collaborate with each other to gain understanding on the subject being taught? Are students taught how to learn and how to adapt rather than how to memorize?
The author of the article states that time is finite. We only have so much time to learn, only so much time for school. We need to ensure that students are gaining the skills they will need to adapt to this changing career landscape for their lifetime. Are these skills being taught in your classrooms?
Work - Life Balance
I lead an IASA academy on work-life balance, or what we now call work-life integration. As the participants in my academy concentrate on personal goals, I have discovered that school administrators have a difficult time really personalizing their goals. Many participants want to connect personal goals to work goals. My emphasis is for the participant to focus on self. This is often hard to do because we are working on serving others, especially the students in our school districts.
I use a metaphor of juggling five balls in life. One ball, the work ball, is rubber and bounces back if dropped. The other four balls are glass balls that shatter when dropped. These four balls are family, faith, self and friends. Too often we think the work ball will shatter if dropped and we sacrifice our values and attention to the other four balls.
A goal of this academy is to have each individual establish a minimum of three goals that the individual will try to fulfill over the next 12 months. Goals can be work or life focused. It is up to the individual. I ask the participants to input the three goals into their smart phones and put a calendar notification on the goals at a regular interval so they can evaluate their progress toward their goals.
Later as I run into past participants, they will often reflect to me where they are concerning their personal goals. More often than not they refer to their personal goals, not their work goals. For example, one participant told me how they have lost over 30 pounds as they work on their personal goal to eat healthy and exercise. Another referred to a weekly date night he has established with his spouse. A third related to me how she has established a personal devotion time in her daily schedule. A fourth wrote me a personal email thanking me for motivating her to get up at 4:00 each morning to work out.
If you are interested in taking or hosting this academy, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For the past 12 years I have provided a variety of academies and workshops for school administrators. This is the academy that I think returns the most benefit for the participants.
Tip of the Week
I use a smart watch for a variety of functions, but my favorite function is "Activity". My daughter, Jennifer, also has an Apple Watch. A function of the watch is that you can "follow" each other in your exercise. Jennifer is a serious runner and in her first marathon she qualified for the Boston Marathon. Each day when she completes a run, I receive a message on my app what she has accomplished. Of course, she also receives a message when I complete a run. While I am not presently training for a marathon, I still run every day. My mileage is not close to Jennifer's, but we keep each other motivated by seeing what the other has accomplished that day. I recommend that you develop some kind of process with a friend, relative or colleague to keep you motivated toward your exercise goal.