I can remember thinking after my first six months of teaching (12 years ago) that my Principal had only come into my class one time that year so far. And that I'd only seen him at recess a few times and come to think of it, he was nine times out of ten always in his office when I would walk by.
"What are you doing in your office" is what I always thought? Why aren't you in classrooms getting to know kids? Why aren't you at recess playing kickball and connecting with your school? Why aren't you talking with teachers about curriculum and projects to inspire them?
In all fairness, that was twelve years ago and he was a veteran Principal who'd been on the job for many many years. I always told myself if I was ever a Principal, I would do it different, much different.
Being a digital leader means we have to be mobile leaders so we can be visible and move our schools forward. For the past four years I've been really working on having the capacity/ability to NOT be in my office at all from 8:15am-2:35pm each day. It all starts with the iPhone.......
- Google Calendar needs to be synched, your Office Manager has to have control as well to make appointments and schedule.
- We use audioBoo.fm a ton for recording messages throughout the day, download the app so you don't have to be tethered to your office. You can embed a player on your website so all podcasts automatically show up to be played and there's also a Tweet button to share with your community. @jseroadrunners
- Evernote has saved me SO many times and your account can be linked to all your devices. I actually do recommend the upgraded account for Admins, has a few key features and it's a cheap yearly payment.
has changed my life with communication! Being able to send text messages from my phone
to my entire parent community is absolutely amazing and of course allows me to be mobile throughout the day. I love scheduling a message ahead of time and not having to worry about hitting send later on when the day gets busy.
- Twitter Twitter Twitter! My entire staff @jseroadrunners
is on Twitter and it's hands-down changed the atmosphere of our school. Teachers/parents know what's going on in classrooms, they share differently, collaborate differently, it's #eduamazing!
- Was just 'hanging' out on Hangouts with @kfostertweet
yesterday and her entire staff, but we were in different counties. Being able to connect fact to face with people from your phone throughout the day has saved so many meeting times and gives us the opportunity to learn from colleagues we didn't even know existed a few years ago.
- Google Drive allows me to access ALL my files, at anytime, from my iPhone. If I'm playing kickball with some 3rd graders and our Assistant Superintendent calls/texts with a question about something, I can look up the document from my phone, no need to visit the office! I can't tell you how many times I've told students to share their work with my through Google Drive. Then, I'll see their parents on campus and pull up their writing on my phone to brag about them, of course parents love this!
- Voxer is fairly new to me and we've just started a book club with some fellow admins that has already been tons of fun! Texting is great, but hearing someones voice on the other end is really cool, especially to listen for their inflection and energy about leadership.
So, Principals.....what are you doing in your office? You should be connecting with kids, seeing first hand what teachers are doing and what they need to move forward, taking care of discipline right when it happens on the yard, being visible, answering emails from your phone, Tweeting all the goodness you see throughout the day, modeling for your teachers what is possible and of course having fun!
Have a great #leadership14 day and a great school year!