Professional Development Opinion

Reflecting and Assessing Progress as a Leader

By Starr Sackstein — December 30, 2018 2 min read
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At the start of 2018, I selected the word #attentive for my one word, really making an effort to listen to the people I work with and develop the necessary relationships to start making meaningful change.

Then at the start of the 2018-19 school year in September, I took on a second word that put my one word to work.

From #attentive to #commitment, I decided that my biggest responsibility as a leader is to help our team accomplish the goals they set for themselves.

Whether I helped them to imagine the possibilities, stretching them beyond comfort or offering opportunities that I have access to in order to help them succeed.

Now as the calendar year wraps up, it’s time to really consider the effectiveness of my approach and possible continued action to take.

In leadership there are always challenges, I’m learning. Recently I had a conversation with a colleague and longtime friend who worked with me in the school I taught in the longest. And although that school had its shortcomings, it was there that I learned to push myself the hardest, and since then, we’ve both moved on to different situations; she, too, has drastically changed her practice for the better and she loves what she does, and it is evident.

Sometimes I feel sad that I can’t participate the way I used to in the continued growth of close friends and colleagues, but as I build those relationships in my new district, I’m hopeful that I will continue to inspire and work with the excellent colleagues who reside in this home.

One major strength, I guess, is my passion and idealism about being able to help people become the best versions of themselves, which requires a bit of conviction and positive reinforcement. It is understood that not all folks are ready to make a change at the same time, and/or the level to which they commit to trying new things is a variant we must account for in leadership.

Much like how I could identify strength in my students, sometimes where they couldn’t see it themselves, I see it in our teachers. Being able to read their needs and readiness, I work hard to be available at the just-right moment so that when they ask, I’m ready to help them in any way I can.

My commitment is really to them as professional educators who work to bring exciting, inspiring learning experiences to our students because we all agree that is what the students deserve.

In my heart, I believe that all educators are staying in the classroom for the right reasons. It’s my job as team leader to tap into their “why” and then work to help them grow at a pace that works for them. As long as students are engaged and learning, we grow together.

With the new year upon us soon and the second half of a school year coming, there will be many opportunities to build relationships, make mistakes, learn, and inspire each other to keep pushing.

This year, more than last, I see many amazing things happening in different learning spaces. People are not only stepping out of comfort zones, but they are living in the shaky territory getting more and more used to not knowing. It is their trust in the process and in their students that makes it all work out in the end.

How do you ensure the growth of your team and the students with the least amount of resistance? Please share

*Photo created using Pablo.com

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