Sunday, April 24, 2011

21st Century Leaders Walk their Talk

I saw the following comment on a blog this past week: "I watch principals or superintendents who tweet or blog a lot, and often I wonder what they could be doing in their building instead of that."

This is a very legitimate question. Enviously, I feel the same sour grapes toward school administrators with low golf handicaps. I rationalize that my golf scores prove I am an administrator who spends his time in the building rather than on the links.

But seriously, this is somewhat similar to how I felt a little more than a year ago. Approaching 30 years of service in education, I felt that blogging and social networking were things the younger educators could practice. It did not seem relevant to my work.

Then in February 2010, I attended the National Conference on Education in Phoenix. Looking for ideas for moving my district forward in 21st Century technology, I focused my time on tech sessions. Multiple speakers agreed and reiterated this same point without collaborating: "To lead a high-tech, 21st Century school, a modern school administrator must first be that kind of learner." The best administrators lead by example. If a school exec wants his/her faculty accessing on-line resources and teaching with the latest instructional tools, that leader should be able to demonstrate those competencies we want teachers to utilize.

Twitter and social networking are part of the mix. They now provide a wealth of information and instant professional development to the aware school administrator. As for blogging, I see it as something school leaders who enjoy writing can do to give back to the profession. I occasionally have been asked why we let teachers miss class time to serve as officers in professional organizations or present at conferences. I always reply that it is a professional obligation. If we want the organizations and the conferences for the development of our teachers, then we need to contribute to the profession ourselves. Blogging is one more of those professional contributions.

And by the way, I often see my professional learning network tweeting and posting during evenings and on weekends.

We make time for what we think is important. (And it is important for me to get rid of my slice this spring.)

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