In response to the post, “PowerWalks – Part 3,” a LYS Teacher writes:
“As I read what Sean wrote about PowerWalks, it really explained a lot to me. I sometimes feel that things are going the wrong way when I’m teaching a lesson, but then I get some PowerWalks observation feedback from my Principal or AP reminding me of all the things that went right.
When I was in XXXXX ISD (a non-LYS district with no LYS schools) it wasn’t that way. So many teachers became discouraged about what they were doing, even when it was right. Something (meaningful feedback) so small makes a huge difference…good or bad. I’m glad my campus administrators use the tool correctly.”
First of all, for you and every other teacher who are regular readers, thank you! I get that the blog is primarily operations focused, so often the topic isn’t directly applicable to the classroom. But I do believe that as administrators pay attention to instruction (non-negotiable) and teachers pay attention to operations (voluntary), that the overall learning community is strengthened. There are always “big picture / small picture” conflicts and the better we understand both sides of the equation, the better our solutions and the more efficient the implementation of those solutions become.
Second, your comment highlights a concept that was taught to me early in my career, “In the absence of feedback, people create their own.”
The critical leadership nugget in this concept is that most people convince themselves that they are pretty darn good (not always the case), but your best people will often convince themselves that they are lacking. So if you don’t observe your team and provide them with regular coaching points, your marginal staff will not improve (mental picture: pretty darn good) and your best staff will burn themselves out (mental picture: just not good enough).
Thus, regular classrooms observations with scheduled times for formative feedback and discussions are a critical leadership responsibility for administrators and an absolute necessity for innovative and motivated teachers. My advice to teachers is if your campus administrators are not up to this task, find a new campus. Great instruction does not occur in isolation. And is there any member of LYS Nation who isn’t striving to be great?
Think. Work. Achieve.