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Education, Leadership, Professional Development, Teaching, Technology

Are You a Steward of Time?


cc flickr photo by: JuditK

One of the unintended, but beneficial, outcomes of the attention the “flipped” classroom has received is an increased level of scrutiny regarding the way that school leaders utilize staff time.  As educators, we frequently lament the inadequate amount of time our teachers have to participate in meaningful professional development, yet we continue to waste countless hours in traditional staff meetings — time that could be used for learning and collaboration.  Recent discussions about the “flipped” faculty meeting provide a launching point for making meaningful change to an entrenched practice that is clearly the antithesis of twenty-first century learning.  Consider the following posts:

by Bill Ferriter (@plugusin)…

… and by David Culberhouse (@DCulberhouse)

Both of these guys have some great ideas for how implementing the “flipped” concept to a meeting — whether it is at the site or district level — can add value to a practice that has too frequently become a sharing of announcements and an airing of grievances.  As I mentioned in a comment on David’s post:

The concept of “flipping” a meeting (or a classroom) is about maintaining a focus on valuing time. Just like maximizing instructional time in the classroom, we have a responsibility to be good stewards of our teachers’ time and too often we (me included) are not effective in this regard.

Although I am not, by any means, an expert, I thought I would briefly share two tools that I am using this school year in an effort to reclaim time for teachers to use for worthwhile learning opportunities and collaboration.

The first, is a new blog, WJHS Professional Learning Community.  A work in progress, I plan to use this to communicate staff messages, provide links and resources, and ultimately generate dialogue among staff members.  The blog will also serve as a platform to prepare for “flipped” faculty meetings — when appropriate (i.e. A Flipped Faculty Meeting).  My goal is to make this an interactive tool for our staff, with guest posts, and faculty shared resources.

The second tool I am currently using is a simple Google Doc, entitled Staff Announcements (running list).  This is an archived list of daily announcements and encouragement.  While there is nothing earth shattering about the concept, or the technology, I have discovered that it has nearly eliminated the need for me to spend time on announcements (minutia), at faculty or leadership team meetings.


Again, neither of these tools, or their use, would be described as innovative, but both have worked well to recapture time for teachers as well as serving to model how technology can be integrated in an effort to engage and improve dialogue (classroom applications).

As we go through the school year, I expect some bumps, and some modifications to how we are implementing this new approach to faculty time.   However, I think this is a substantial issue that needs to be addressed in our educational system.

If time is money, are your teachers getting an adequate return on their investment? 

Please share what you are trying in an effort to improve professional development and increase collaboration at your school.  I look forward to hearing about your experiences.

About azjd

Junior high principal by day, aspiring difference maker, and Jedi in my own mind. Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly.


3 thoughts on “Are You a Steward of Time?

  1. I recently sat in a team leader meeting and figured the topics would have been a bit meatier. Instead we discussed the fact that our nurse is not a nurse; she’s a health assistant. We discussed district policy about Chlorox wipes causing possible sterility in young children. We also discussed locking doors and when to receive messages from the office. While all of these items are important in some way – although I’m not sure what impact any have on student learning – there could have been a much more efficient manner by which this information was disseminated. Because after team leads met we were expected to communicate this information to our teams. So after sitting in a meeting for an hour discussing items that have little impact on the 21st Century learner, I had to spend another hour rehashing the same information to two of my colleagues.

    Administrators need to mobilize the staff and leaders on their campuses and find ways of “working smarter and not harder.” I know this is cliche but it’s true. After 15 years in the district, one Master’s degree, countless curriculum cadre positions, numerous leadership opportunities, I have been reduced to a drone who disseminates mundane information. I get that this is the way that things have been done, ways in which teachers who’ve identified themselves as leaders are expected to act on campuses. But it’s time for all of us to rethink the possible. With the amount and type of technologies available to us, we need to branch out, to take risks, to try new ways of doing things.

    Staff members’ time is valuable and since we can’t make more of it, administrators need to be the leaders who help shape a community where time is used wisely and not used up for tasks that can be accomplished in much more efficient ways.

    Posted by buistbunch | August 19, 2012, 10:19 am
  2. Totally dig this, Pal.

    One of the key constructs that I’ve had to get my head wrapped around when thinking about flipping is that it’s not about technology — or engaging kids, or creating 21st century learning environments, or looking innovative and flashy.

    It’s about getting the crappy stuff done before learners — whether they are students or teachers — get together in face-to-face settings.

    Only then can we create truly engaging learning environments that value interactions over instruction.

    Can’t wait to see what you do next…

    Posted by Bill Ferriter | August 25, 2012, 11:32 am
  3. I absolutely love this! I’m just a junior in college, however, having had a few jobs myself, I always hated sitting through pointless meetings that were mean’t for other employees. I love the idea of incorporating technology with keeping in touch and sharing vital information with your teachers to help save time. Teachers hardly have enough time to teach students and get everyday classroom chores done as it is, so to take them out of that setting just sets them back even more. I seriously commend you for trying to help out your school and teachers and I sincerely hope more administrators start converting to this method as well.

    Posted by Samantha | August 29, 2012, 3:49 pm

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Jeff Delp

Junior high principal by day, sports enthusiast, technology fanatic and jedi in my own mind. Striving to be a difference maker!
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