Monday, May 3, 2010

Secrets of Change: Secret 1

It has been a long time since I have posted about what I have been reading, but the one that I am reading now has begun to resonate deeply with me and the new position that I will be starting in about 8 weeks. The current book that I am reading right now is The Six Secrets of Change: What the Best Leaders Do to help their Organizations Survive and Thrive, by Michael Fullan.

Secret One: Love your Employees

While this might sound a bit "hippie-dippy" the idea of loving your employees is as timeless as people. Most of us know it as the golden rule. When we look at education within this paradigm, we need to know that we are talking about how administrators work with their faculties and staff. The best schools will have administrators and leaders that value their employees as much as their students. "the quality of the education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers" (barber & Mourshed, 2007, p.8). If this is truly the case, then we need to have high quality teachers to have a high quality education. If our teachers don't feel loved, then they will not want to be there. If a teacher does not love being at his or her school, then they will not stay motivated to be great, if they are not great, our system is in failure.

Fullan says that one of the ways we can love our employees is to create the conditions they need to succeed (p.25). When a teacher can feel like they are simultaneously able to fulfill their own goals and the goals of the school they begin to love what they do and want to do it better.

While this concept seems to have been designed for business, the translation to education is not that far off. In the business model Fullan talks about five stakeholder groups; customers, employees, investors, partners and society. When you move this model to education we look at our stakeholders; students are our customers, teachers are our employees, parents are our investors, many groups such as pto's, vendors, and community groups are our partners and well, society is still society. Using this model we are beginning to look at the symbiotic relationship between our teachers and students, but we are also looking at being the best we can be.

Loving our teachers, with respect, encouragement, top notch working conditions and resources to be the best they can will allow both teachers and students to flourish together. This is not about pay, rather human nature.

This image has been licensed by Getty Images as stock photography.

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