Month: May 2014

Leadership is Developed around Personnel

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“It is easy to see leadership as something urgent and immediate.
Decisions needs to be made. Performance needs to be evaluated. Goals needs to be set. Action needs to be taken. Something must be done right away; it takes a leader to get it done.
We forget that leadership is not completed when we take action. Leadership is not only immediate” (Leadership Never Dies)

– The Message to be shared within this article and through my comments today is that Leadership is a living, breathing entity which guides the future. In our current leadership system of 2014 there is more of a “Do as I say mentality along with a save me or else mindset”. These situations are not what good leaders are, rather they are models of leadership left over from 5o years ago.

As time evolves, leadership is meant to as well. I do not mean that we need to change the style of leadership, rather how that style is handled with an ever changing social dynamic.
The modern leader of 2014 needs to understand that the people working for them wants to feel important too. People do not always desire to lead, yet they want to know that they have a voice, are able to use this voice and or utilize their skills to their best ability. A true leader of today focuses on developing the people around them for their future, not the future of the leader.

Goals for the modern leader need to be set and then put in the hands of the people that are working for him/her. When the right personnel are in place, then the goals will find success and the leader will achieve their due accolades. When a leader is forceful upon their people and just looking to achieve their goals alone, then the personnel tend to feel disgruntled and may be less productive. Without an ability to see where they belong within the organization, personnel have a tendency to withdraw. Great leaders are great because they understand the climate of the people working for them, know how to motivate them and in the modern environment know how to step back and let the people develop.

When making decision, leaders need to know how to evaluate strengths, weaknesses and possible flaws within a future outcome. This does not mean stay away from any of these situations, rather place personnel within reach when necessary to allow for goals to continue to develop. This is a model based within transformational leadership with a small amount of servant leadership adaptation. The modern environment needs this type of system.

The modern leader needs to be involved, know the future and guide the people toward it…if that is able to occur, then success for the leader will arrive.

Students are Barely Different

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I hear all of the time that teaching has changed and that reaching today’s students is far harder than it was 5, 10, 15 or even 20 years ago. I do not disagree with this statement, yet at the same time, I don’t agree with it either. The students of today are not different, they are still people and they still develop in their brain in much the same way. What has changed is society and the expectation society places on the modern student.

Yesterday I worked with approximately 50 students who joined me for my annual Advanced Placement Review at Panera Bread. Typically, the event focuses on me going over the material and students asking questions. We began this year’s session the same way, yet with modern research abilities, my students preferred to use their knowledge to ask questions to expand on prior knowledge rather than simply just be given a guided answer.

As an educator I do my best to focus on a system where learning is guided by student questions. I read consistently that my model of teaching has become more difficult due to learning styles, learning abilities and general student apathy. The people making these statements are out there to sell me a product. The parents who have a child that does not receive an A on every test buy into this problematic system and proceed to blame the teacher not their child. Keep in mind parents, if your child only ever achieves an A on everything, then why would students need a teacher. An A means a student is perfect and can restate what they have learned perfectly.

Students today are not different than the students that arrived before them. Rather, the system is different. Parents and the community should understand that the role of education has changed on purpose. The shift from teacher centric and teacher guided has been shifted to political minded. There is money to be made in education and the corporate elites have figured a way. Do your best to realize that a professional in the classroom is far more prepared than any person no longer in the classroom.

The role of society today is guided by cell phones, apps, computer technology and every other method of reaching a student other than the original way. Since the brain develops the same as it did in the past, why not try some of the old teaching methodology. Consider how you learn at work today. Someone sits with you and asks you to do something. You sit and do it, then ask a superior to review your work. You either did it well enough to move on or you have to redo it. They send you back to redo it, you ask questions, you redo the work and when it is approved you move on. This is what you learned from a teacher. Learning does not end, it changes into a job later on. The preparation your teachers do guides students toward their future abilities. Watching movies does the same thing, yet you cannot ask a movie questions. Using a computer is a great tool, yet you cannot ask Google if the answer is right or wrong..all you can do is ask google.

What I learn from my students each year is extensive. This year I learned that students are able to ask questions and if given the chance in a setting they are comfortable they will do just that. The review with my students lasted 3 hours and it was student run. In reflecting on the event I do believe that the students that participated are ready for their AP exam. They may pass, they may fail, yet all in all, they knew enough to communicate an understanding of Psychology. I know this because their questions told me they learned. They learned from a teacher who does not show movies, does not have them do dittos and does not force them to just write vocab words. Rather I make them read, ask questions, read more and write outlines, papers and do projects. The same model from the past still works…if we just modernize it a little.