Monday, August 26, 2013

Pretend you're a teenager

A picture à propos of nothing,
except perhaps the recognition of
the dying days of a teacher's summer vacation
One of the major aspects of my job (and admittedly, one of my favourites) is finding ways to smooth out wrinkles in our systems.  To find efficiencies.  To save time.  It's mathematical, really ... if I can save 2 minutes off a teacher's day, in a staff of 100 that's 3 hours of time that can be better spent.

We've made a lot of progress during the 2012-2013 but, to use a phrase I hate, we hit a lot of the low-hanging fruit.  The easy things.  We centralized and synchronized the OneNote Binders (okay, that was huge), the Faculty Calendar and the Duty Calendars so that they were done once and everyone could access and modify as necessary. We simplified the way teachers access and use information produced from the school's student information system, removing a tonne of roadblocks. We moved PD online and made it instantaneous.  There have been a multitude of shared databases (and shared OneNotes) that have made information accessible and usable to people who need it.  And there has been a normalization of standards, policies and procedures -- people never knew why we did things or why we named things in particular ways so we thought deeply of why things were the way they were.  There's a lot more finessing going forward and the payback won't be as noticeable (we were making some leaps worth 10-30-50 minutes per staff member last year).  We're going to have to push a little.

So in an interchange with a faculty member I got this back:
I am happy with whatever you think is best
And I immediately responded with

LOL… no, no, no… you need to say “I want THIS… and THAT … and NOT THAT”
Pretend you’re a teenager!
Far too many times our faculty accept inefficiencies or irritants because they don't think they can affect change. (To be fair, in the past, that was often the case ... it was hard to get your voice heard.)  Or they don't know there's maybe a better or easier way. So my goal this year is to make my faculty like teenagers.  I want them to think they can change the world, like nothing can stop them.  Because they can.  And nothing can.
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