Leadership LEAP 1: The Positive

How many of us have seen this quote?

from Pinterest




I am sure all my edu friends would agree that this quote is 100% true… educators are superheroes because we are impacting the lives of students and literally shaping the future of our world. From creating engaging learning opportunities to building positive relationships to inspiring those around us, it takes superpowers to do that work each and every day with one main goal… positively impacting the lives of our students!

When I think about superheroes, the first one that comes to mind is Superman. I don’t know if it was the fact that he could fly or that he had X-Ray vision, but he was always my favorite superhero; after all, Superman is able to LEAP tall buildings in a single bound. This whole notion of LEAPing got me thinking about the work that we do (educators, teachers, leaders, etc.) each day. No two days are ever alike because of the unexpected adventures that cause us to LEAP from one situation to the next. Whether we are handling a sensitive student issue or working with a colleague to plan a lesson it seems that we are always working towards nurturing a positive culture in our spaces, building the relationships that matter and creating the conditions for meaningful learning experiences. 

This is what we do… we LEAP to promote positivity; we LEAP to remove barriers for our students, staff & families; we LEAP like superheroes each and every day!

In an effort to support the daily LEAPs that educators make, and hopefully help keep the joy at the center of our work, I am going to share a weekly Leadership LEAP based on my experiences as an educator! The Leadership LEAP will have a specific theme/focus and will include 3 – 5 suggested activities educators might engage in that week to support their efforts in nurturing a positive culture, building the relationships that matter and creating the conditions for meaningful learning experiences… and who knows… maybe have a little fun too! The list of activities will be broken up into two groups… things that can be done on a school/district level and things that can be done in a classroom… if it feels right. These are just ideas… suggestions… possibilities; they aren’t MUST DOs… they aren’t the SILVER BULLET… they are just thoughts that have impacted my daily work and I hope will resonate with some of you! So, here it goes… my first Leadership LEAP… 

Leadership Leap # 1:
Acknowledge & Celebrate the Positive 
(thank you Joe Sanfelippo for inspiring this idea) 

We know that people respond well to positive reinforcement; it is a known fact. Whether someone is complimenting the way we look or our actions in the classroom, positive feedback inspires us to want to replicate that situation again and again. To that end, here are some things we can try this week to acknowledge & celebrate the positive in our schools… 

School/District Level for Eduleaders:

  1. Call a parent to share something positive their child did that day (make it specific) because can be a powerful way to build relationships with our most critical partners in this work… our families!
  2. Have lunch with a group of kids; just sit back, relax and spend some time with your kids in this different setting. I have always found the most interesting (and often hysterical) conversations unfold when lunching with kids!
  3. Leave positive & specific feedback to a teacher after an informal visit to their classroom. Make sure the feedback isn’t generic and use it as an opportunity to reinforce what you hope to see more of in the classroom. **Think about giving positive feedback on a risk that was taken or a practice that isn’t quite perfect but has a lot of potential because that could spark a new innovative practice!**
  4. Send a note to the family of a staff member thanking them for sharing that staff member with your school community. Educators spend more time in school than they do at home so let’s thank them and their families for this important sacrifice… after all, Superhero-ing isn’t easy work!
Classroom Level for Teachers:

  1. Call a parent to share something positive their child did that day (make it specific) because can be a powerful way to build relationships with our most critical partners in this work… our families!
  2. Have lunch with a group of kids; just sit back, relax and spend some time with your kids in this different setting. I have always found the most interesting (and often hysterical) conversations unfold when lunching with kids!
  3. When conferring one on one with students (in any content area), offer the child a positive & specific feedback on the work they are doing as a way to reinforce a strategy or skill you want to continue seeing them use. **Think about giving positive feedback on a strategy/skill/approach they haven’t mastered but will help them grow as a learner!** 
  4. Send an email to a colleague complimenting them on something you observed or saw in their classroom or in their daily practice. Our relationships between colleagues are critical to our success as a profession!
These are just some of my ideas for this week’s Leadership LEAP; please feel free to add ideas by leaving a comment below.
And to all my colleagues, thank you for making a difference in the lives of children… your super powers don’t go unnoticed!