How to Support Teachers #LikeABuilder
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You're listening to the School Leadership Reimagined Podcast, episode number thirty six.
Welcome to the School Leadership Reimagined podcast...
where we rethink what's possible to transform your school. If you're tired of settling for small wins and incremental improvement, then stay tuned to discover powerful and practical strategies for getting every teacher in your school moving towards excellence. Now, here's your host, Robyn Jackson.
Welcome to another episode of school leadership reimagined. I'm your host Robyn Jackson. And today we're in the third episode of a four episode arc about the four disciplines of buildership. And those are feedback, support, accountability, and culture.
Now, the reason that I'm spending four episodes talking about the four disciplines is because these four things are the only things you can do if you want to change teacher behavior and transform your school. So once you understand that there are really only four ways that you can impact teacher practice and you choose to focus only on these four things, then the hundred and one other things that you're currently worried about doing every single day. All that worry and that stress around those things just evaporates. You see, I think that many of us are under the mistaken notion that in order to reach our vision for our school, we have to run around and repair everything that's broken.
So we spent all of our time putting out fires, cleaning up messes and trying to patch everything that's broken in our schools. And then what we also tried to get rid of what we consider to be bad teachers or we try to bring in a new program to rates test scores, or we scour our data looking to nudge the, and I hate this term, the bubble kids into the proficient category.
So we can post test score gains every single year. Or we've got cupcakes in the staff lounge on Fridays to try to overcome teacher burnout. You know, we're so busy trying to tweak and fix everything that's broken in our schools that we don't have time to do the work that we really want to be doing. So stop it. Stop trying to fix a broken school.
Stop trying to tweak and repair your way to success.
Instead get to work, building a better school. And the way that you do that is not by running around and putting out every fire that are ups or chasing and checking and correcting teachers or, or buying another program. The way that you build a better school is to get singularly focused on a clear vision, a strong compelling mission and a and a and a nonnegotiable set of core values. And then practice the four disciplines every single day to move you to that vision, to help you accomplish that mission and to help you live out those core values. And that's it. I mean, it seems very simple and it's not. It's simple, but it's not simplistic.
You see a lot of us really get off on being busy all the time. We think that that being busy as a sign that we're working hard and that we're committed to our goals, but really being busy is perhaps the most undisciplined thing you can be. I mean, busy means that you're not focused on what's important. You're focused on what's right in front of you. The idea of discipline. And that's why I call these the four disciplines of Buildership is because the idea of discipline means that you are drowning out the noise outside your office and staying laser focused on what really matters. And the only thing that matters is your vision, your mission, and your core values. That's it. And the way that you stay laser focused on your vision and your mission and your core values is to daily practice the four disciplines.
So last time we talked about how to give powerful feedback to teachers, the kind that that teachers won't, not only welcome, but they will immediately act on. And then before that we talked about how the develop a healthy school culture by consistently answering three specific questions for your teachers. I'll link to both of those episodes in the show notes, by the way.
But you can always access your show notes by going to schoolleadershipreimagined.com and then backslash the word episode and then the episode number. So this is episode 36 and we start the series in episode 34 so 34 35 36 okay.
So today we are talking about the third discipline of buildership. And that's the discipline of support. And the reason that this discipline is so important is because you can't expect a teacher to act in a way that you haven't trained them to act. I want to say that again because I think a lot of people miss this.
You cannot expect a teacher to act in a way that you haven't trained them to act.
Now here's something I see all the time. I see school administrators getting so frustrated with teachers because they're not doing what ever the administrator believes that teachers should be doing. And when I asked them what kind of professional development or support they provided for teachers, they say things like, well, this is just basic teaching.
They should know how to do this already. Really, I mean, we all know that as good as our teacher preparation programs are or maybe weren't, you know, most of what you learn about teaching happens on the job. So why would you expect that a teacher knows how to do things the way that you want them to do them? If you haven't shown them what you expect of them, if you haven't shown them how to deal it. I mean come on. We would never accept that excuse from a teacher.
I mean, imagine talking to a teacher and the teacher complains about a student not knowing his timestables and then you ask the teacher, well, if he doesn't know his timetables, have you taught them? Have you worked with them on that? And the teacher says, come on, they, they should know the timetables already. He's in fifth grade. I mean he should know them by now.
Now imagine if a teacher did that, that would be totally ridiculous. Right? And yet we do it all the time. We throw teachers into PLCs and expect them to know how to plan collaboratively. But we've never trained them on how to operate in the PLC. We ask teachers to look at data, but we have never trained them on how to use data to inform their instruction. Or we tell teachers they need to differentiate. But we never explained what differentiation means. We just expect, you know, this is the word, you should know this. You're a teacher after all. Or we switch curricula and we give teachers one day of training to introduce them to the new materials and then we never follow up to show them how they have to teach differently as a result of the change in curriculum. I mean, how can we possibly expect teachers to grow if we are not intentional about helping them grow?
Builders look at support differently. In fact, builders are very intentional about the kind of support they give teachers and builders don't just leave support for the few planned PD opportunities every single year. Instead builder's find ways to give teachers ongoing support every single day. And that support isn't generic. Oh No. Builders find ways to give teachers differentiated support, especially designed to meet teachers wherever they are and help them grow at least one level on their evaluation instrument every single year. And here's the thing, builders do all of that without wearing themselves out in the process. So today we're going to talk about how to give teachers what I call sure fire support, the kind that helps teachers make significant growth year over year over year. In other words, we're going to talk about how to give teachers support like a builder.
Now we're talking today about how you can support teachers, but before we get into that, I want to ask you about your own support.
How are you ensuring that you grow your skills this summer?
What kind of support are you getting as you're on your own journey to being a builder? Because it isn't just teacher support that's missing. A lot of times really busy administrators don't take time out for themselves to get the kind of support that you need. And a lot of times it's because you're too busy during the school year to leave your building and then when summer comes, you're too busy getting ready for the next school year to take time out to sharpen your own skills. And I get it. It's hard.
It's hard to get away from the daily grind and take time for yourself. And sometimes it almost seems kind of selfish in a way because there's so much that needs to be done at your school. Then after all, there's a lot of work to be done. Your work is never done.
But may I suggest something? How can you give teachers the feedback and support and accountability and culture, school culture that they need, if you don't first hone your own skills in these areas? It's not magic. You can't just decide, hey, I'm going to start practicing the four disciplines and see the kind of dramatic results that you want to see. If you've don't first how to practice the disciplines in a way that's gonna get you those results. Look, I don't want you to go into next school year unprepared.
I want you to go into next school year with a clear vision, with, with a mission, with core values, and all of the skills that you need to be able to achieve them.
So that's why I want to invite you to builders lab this summer because it's three days of intense support designed just for you so that you can go back into your school.
A true builder and build the kind of school that you've been always logging to build. You know, first thing we're going to do when you get to build his lap is I'm going to help you get really clear on your vision, your mission, and your core values. I mean, you may think, well, we have a mission statement already and that's a waste of time, but trust me, when you come to builders lab, all that vision, mission, core value stuff that you learned in school, this is totally different. This is the real deal. You're going to learn how to set a vision that includes 100% of your kids. You're going to learn how to lead your school in a core values exercise that actually gets everybody galvanized around the same goals and the same behavior. And you're going to learn how to set a mission that gets everybody inspired and excited, including you.
And then once you've figured all of that out, then you're going to learn how to achieve that vision, mission, and core values in your school by consistently practicing the four disciplines of build a ship. So you'll set your vision, your mission, and your core values. And I'm not going to just leave you. They're all excited. I'm actually going to show you, here's how you actually achieve them and the way you achieve them as through the four disciplines and the more consistent you are practicing them, the better you'll get at achieving your vision. And here's the thing, this isn't a sit and get y'all. This is we're going to be spending time doing hands on practicing. So we keep builder's lab small, we keep it intimate because I want to be able to interact with you. I want to be able to, you know, stop by and give you feedback.
Everything is hands on. So we teach you a skill, you practice the skill, we teach you what skill you practice a skill. And then we culminate everything. Once you've learned the skills, you end by developing your unique builder's blueprint for your own school.
So we're hosting builder's lab into gorgeous locations so that not only are you going to come and learn but you can also come and relax a little bit and get geared up for the school year ahead. So at builder's lab, we work hard but we also play hard.
In fact, my team and I are, we always look for ways to kind of spoil you a little bit while you're a builder's lab. We look for places where we get great food cause that's important to me. Y'All know me, I love to eat and I like good food so we get great food.
We make sure that we are staying in some great hotels so this is not going to be some dinky little highway side of the highway hotel. We try to find really great hotels and we also try to include a lot of little surprises so that you leave feeling pampered and prepared for the year ahead.
Now two builder's labs are coming up this summer. The first one is builders lab one and that's happening 24th through 26th and the in Palm Springs, California. And the second builder's lab is happening right outside of Washington DC in Arlington, Virginia. Um, originally it was a builder's lab coaches addition, but we heard from so many administrators who really want it to come to it. So we've retitled it builder's Lab East and we've opened it up to school administrators.
Now if you're a coach and you still want to go and you are working on your Purchase Order, don't worry, we will still be including all of the things that we had planned to include for the coaches edition. We're going to have a special session just for instructional coaches, so don't worry, you'll still get it. But we also want it to accommodate the school administrators who really wanted to come to something on the east coast.
So we are going to do builder's lab west, which is in Palm Springs, California. That's June 24 through 26 and then we're going to do builder's lab east, which is in right outside of Washington DC in Arlington, Virginia. And that's July 15 through 17 they're both great for principals, assistant principals and instructional coaches. So to register for one or both of the intensive the summer go to mindstepsinc.com/builders-lab. That's mindstepsinc.com/builders-lab. And if you have questions and you want to talk to one of our team members to figure out which builders lab is right for you or you want to pay with a Po and you want to understand that process, give us a call here at the office.
We're open Monday through Friday and we're open. Usually there's somebody here between 10:00 AM and 6:00 PM Monday through Thursday and then 10:00 AM till about 2:00 PM on Fridays and the number is (888) 565-8881 again, the number is 1885658881.
Now let's talk about support, the support pillar & the support discipline
I want to start by talking about the way that you may have been trained to typically give support. First of all, you, you know, there just isn't a lot in our, in our, in our, our leadership programs are our administrative programs about how to support teachers. We get a lot of training about how to spot when a teacher is not doing well, but we don't get a lot of training about what do we do about it, how do we help that teacher become better?
And so what happens is we might notice a deficit overall in our building or we might have an initiative want to do this year. This is the year of rigor. So we scheduled some PD days for teachers and we do a book study and how often, quite frankly, does that really change teacher's practice. And even more, we're talking about supporting teachers individually.
We might see a teacher who's struggling. And then a lot of times what we do with we, we stick the instructional coach on that teacher and assume that we'll let the instructional coach deal with that struggling teacher without really working with our instructional coaches in a coordinated effort to really improve and raise the quality of teaching through out our school. And I don't really understand how we can expect to transform our school to create this kind of amazing learning environment if we are not consistently and intentionally supporting teachers. But unfortunately we're not trained on how to do that.
You know what else we do? A lot of times we really do want to support our teachers, right? So we decide, we say a teacher is struggling, we decide, you know what, I'm going to go into their classroom and I'm going to teach the lesson for them and I'm going to show them how it's done. And then maybe if they watch me teach the lesson, then they'll be able to do it. And you know, how often does that really work?
Let's just be real. Most of the time you go in, you teach an amazing lesson, the teacher watches that and either the teachers really intimidated by it or the teacher thinks that's great, or the teacher thinks I'm so glad that I didn't have to teach the lesson. That's one less lesson plan that I have to do. But how often does a teacher after watching you teach actually go back and teach better as a result?
Guys, we need something more.
We need a better way of supporting and unfortunately our toolkits on support strategies for teachers is it's pretty empty
because we're just weren't trained on how to take a teacher who's struggling and turn that teacher into a master teacher. And when I first started at mindsteps, I used to tell people all the time, any teacher can become a master teacher with the right kind of support and practice and people, they still fight me. I mean, this is, you know, years ago I've been saying this and people still fight me on it. They say, well, maybe if you change it to most teachers or maybe you change it to a teacher who, who wants to improve, maybe then I don't feel like we need to equivocate. I still believe in the power of every teacher to become a master teacher. And I have to because our kids deserve master teachers and if we're going to move our schools, if we're going to build better schools, the kind where kids thrive, the kind where people like working with each other, the kind where people care about kids and each other and they're moving towards these big goals that we set for our schools.
We have to believe in all of our teachers.
So the way we were taught to support teachers there, there a couple of problems with it. First of all, the way we were taught to support teachers is really haphazard. It provides sporadic ad hoc support instead of support. That's really connected to a bigger plan for the school. And the second thing is that the support is temporary. Somebody has to really be struggling. Then they get support and then they get a little bit better and then they're left on their own to figure it out on their own rather than having that ongoing support. And the other thing is the support is around tweaks instead of really helping teachers grow. And become better teachers. And the third thing that's wrong with the way that we were taught to give support is, and this is really important, it's uh, it's really disempowering when we go into support teachers, a lot of times we were taught to go in and give teachers support in a way conveys to the teacher, you are broken that just your practice needs help but you're broken.
You are doing this wrong. And, and, and so it's disempowering. Now we're telling, we're taking over. A lot of times our support strategies actually take over teachers practice. We go in and then we figure out what's wrong and then we figure out how to fix it. And then we tell the teacher do this. And even if the teacher does what we tell them to do, and they do it perfectly, it doesn't always improve the class because teaching is way more complicated than a tweak here and a tweak there. It's, it's, it's a lot. It's a lot more of a nuance thing. If people don't own their own practice, they don't row. And a lot of our support takes the ownership away from teachers. The teacher's no longer own their own practice and said they have to do things the way we tell them to do it.
How we tell them to do it when we tell them to do it, and so they don't grow, they don't get better. And when to build your support teacher, that's the goal.
We want to help teachers really grow. We want to empower teachers and so when builders give teachers support.
first of all, they give teachers very consistent support and that support is directly tied to the school vision, mission, and core values. So I'm not going in and randomly telling the teachers to tweak, no, our school is on a mission. We are headed somewhere. And so when I'm giving you support, what I'm doing is I am empowering you to join us on that mission. I'm empowering you to be a part of the results that we want to produce for students. So I'm not going to give you support that's off mission. I'm not going to give you support that doesn't align with our core values.
I'm not going to give you support that that doesn't help you move your students toward this bigger vision. I'm not going to waste your time. That way when I come in and I give a teacher support, it's going to be support design directly to help that teach in teacher be a bigger part of our vision, our mission and our core values. And the second thing that builders who when they're supporting teachers as they're giving teachers support, that's really growth oriented and it's targeted to help people grow in the areas where they can have the biggest impact on their overall practice.
So I'm not going to give you support, you know, around something that doesn't make a difference in your practice. The kind of support I'm going to give you, it's going to have immediate impact. And that growth that you experienced from my support has to feel tangible.
So usually when we're training people on how to get people, so teachers supports and we're working with builders and we're saying, here's how you do support, um, we focus on the kind of support that will help teacher grow at least one level in a particular area of your evaluation system every single year. So it's not just I went in and I did these things and hopefully the teacher got better or they kind of got better. No, when you give teachers support this way, the way that we train you in how to do it at builder's lab or in our workshops or even in some of the books that we have, when you give teachers that kind of support, you can expect to see tangible growth. Otherwise you're wasting your time and you're wasting the teacher's time. And the third thing is that when builders support teachers, they do it in a way that's empowering.
They don't presume that there's a deficit with the teacher. They don't go in judging the teacher. Because as I've told you, time and time again, when you are judging someone, you cannot help them. They will not take help from you if they feel like you're judging them. So you have to go in without judgment. You have to go and curious about what the teacher needs, curious about how you can help the teacher. You don't make it personal. The support that you provide for teachers is really about helping them grow and you have to come in with the assumption that they can grow. If you go into a teacher's classroom with the idea that if they implement the support you give them, they will grow and it's not personal. It's not about them. You're not looking at them like, you know, you're just too bad to grow or you're just too stupid to get this, but you're walking in with the assumption you do this and you will grow.
Then the teacher will grow. If you'd then the teacher will be willing to hear and accept your support, but if you go in and say, well, you know, here's what you should be doing, but I really don't believe you're doing, I think you're really tuned down to do this. If that's really in your mind or in your heart. When you're giving the teacher the support, they're not going to grow from that. Who would? So builders have a totally different way of giving support to teachers because builders know that the secret to getting people engaged and in their own improvement is that you can never blame the person. You always blame the process. So one of the things that you know, we drill over and over and over again in builder's lab is that you always blame the process, not the people and other people aren't doing what you need them to do.
You have to look at the process.
You don't wait to say, well, I've got to get rid of this person or that person before you can move your school forward. We show you how to move your school forward with the people you have. So you can't look at the people and let people hold your school hostage from improving. No, don't blame the person. Blame the process. And when you do that, when you go in and then you say, not you're a bad teacher, but this thing you're doing, it's not helping your kids grow. We need a different process. Notice the difference, right? You go in and tell me, I'm a bad teacher. I began to defend my practice. Even if my practices is indefensible. You go in and tell me this practice is not working and you show me why it's not working in the show me how to improve it.
Then I am a free to do that because you're not telling me that I'm a bad person. You're telling me that my practice isn't working so I don't have to personalize your feedback and I can be open and willing to hear your support and if you are giving me good support now that's important. We give a lot of bad support out here, but if you're giving me good support and and I implement it and I see change, now I trust you. Now I want more support from you because you're trustworthy. You, you, you have empowered me to be a better teacher. Why would not want come to you for more support? You know, a lot of instructional coaches struggle because they say teachers don't take my help, but I wasn't challenged them. What's the attitude with which you give the help? Are you doing this because you think, I'm such a great teacher.
I'm going to go in and fix everybody because people aren't going to accept that kind of help. But if you're going in and you're saying, look, I am going to partner beside you and the help I give you, it's going to empower you to do this on your own. Well, people are more likely to accept that kind of help from you. So you have to look and come with an attitude of, I believe in you. I believe that you can do this so that if you don't take anything else away from this episode, take that because people will not accept your help if they don't believe you believe in them. And it's the same for kids. We know this. We tell people this all the time, and I'm always saying, you got to walk the talk first as the builder. You have to model or be who you want to see from other people.
So if you don't treat people as if they can improve, if you don't have that kind of growth mindset for people, how are you going to expect teachers to treat kids that way?
You have to go in with your support with a growth mindset.
Even if the teacher doesn't have a growth mindset, even if the teacher has not to this point demonstrated that they know how to do it. If you don't believe in the people you're supporting, if you don't find a way to believe in them, then they're not going to accept your support. Okay, so now that we've gotten that out the way, here's the second thing that I want to teach you about support today and that's that there are three different types of support that you need to be thinking about and being intentional about giving. And I got these three types of support from a book called influencer.
I think it was a part of our booklets last year. I'll try to link to it in the show notes. I love this book. And so this really, you know, influence or is about the sources of influence. And they, so they'd say that there are three sources of influence, but when I was reading this, I was like, ah, I don't know if it's just influence. I really think these are three sources of support and those three sources of support, our personal support, social support, and then structural support. So let me break each of those down and talk about how builders are intentional about each one. So personal support is focused on helping teachers grow in their individual practice. It's really about looking at what each teacher needs. And so when we're training administrators, um, when I'm looking at working with administrative teams, we start off by teaching you how to figure out what is the root cause of a teacher's practice.
What is the one thing that if the teacher didn't do anything else but they did this one thing that would significantly improve their practice and improve their students' performance. And so as a builder, you need to be consistently aware of that. So when you're going in and you're observing classrooms, you're always looking for that, that one thing. And we talked, we talked about this in feedback, that one thing, feedback, but you don't just, it's not just for feedback. Once you've identified that root cause, that becomes the genesis of the kind of support you're going to give the teacher because you don't want to overwhelm a teacher with a ton of support. You know like I think a lot of people who are very well meaning go in and give people too much support. And the problem with giving people too much support is that they become overwhelmed.
They're not sure how to access it, what to do with it. When you have one thing, feedback, then the next logical step is to give people one thing, support, support around the one thing that matters. Now you all know that I teach that you have to really, when you're working with teachers, you have to support the whole teacher. So your support has to take into consideration and teachers will Anna teacher's skill. So when you're giving teacher personal support, you have to understand and approach them in a way that's consistent with that. Teachers will driver. So I talk about little job, it's more in episode five I think it's called how to motivate anybody because if you're going to a teacher and you're offering them support and you're doing it in a way that's inconsistent with their wheel drivers, they will not accept your support. So when you're thinking about planning the support for teachers, the first thing you have to do is you have to think about their skill.
What is the one thing that if they improved in this one area, it would have a significant impact on their practice and what kind of support will help them to improve?
That's a skill side of it, but the wool side of is now how do I approach that teacher in a way that's consistent with their wheel driver? How do I design support in a way that's going to be consistent with that? Teachers will driver, you do those two things and you will have a powerful impact on that teacher's personal individual practice. So that's personal support. The second kind of support you need to be deliberate about is social support. And frankly we hardly do this. We weren't trained to do this. It wasn't a consideration, but it's very, very powerful. You know, I talk about this a lot in culture, um, about how you have to set up a culture where, where people not only like each other but they liked the work.
And so, you know, go back to that episode and listen to the culture piece because that's a huge part of the social support network because it's really, social support is really about helping the staff grow as a group.
So personal support is about the individual teacher's practice, but social support is about where we are going as a school. For instance, if your school is interested in increasing the rigor of their instruction, then the social support means how do we grow together and increase our rigor as a school? How do we become a more rigorous learning environment? And it's differentiated based on the needs of the group.
But remember, just like in that personal support, you also have to consider will and skill when you're thinking about social support. So with will you want to think about not just the individual will drivers, but now you want to think about what it's happening in your culture.
How do you get everybody in the culture motivated?
Remember I talked about this in the culture episode, which is episode 34 that when you want to get people motivated, you have to answer three questions for them. You have to answer, what are we doing? What are we building, why is it important and what's my role? And the more you have answers to that, the more you think about your vision, mission, and core values, the more that's reinforced, the more people are going to be motivated to move.
So when you're providing support as a school, you can't just say, hey, this is a year of rigor, so everybody let's get rigorous. You have to think more about that. Why are we choosing rigorous, our emphasis for building our skillset? Is it because it's going to help us to achieve our vision, mission, or core values?
Or is it because you just took a class on rigor? Because if you just took a class on rigor and I know it's a flavor of the month and next month is going to be something else, I'm not supporting that. But if you can connect to me, I'll connect what we're doing to that vision, mission and core values that gives me the well and the motivation to engage in this work.
And then secondly, when you're developing the skill side, it's more than just planning PD days because that infant, you know this, when people, when you have workshops or your PD days, everybody gets something different from it. You have to not just train people on this specific skill. You have to train people on how to work together as a team towards a goal. And this is something we neglect. So again, we throw people in Plc's when we never trained them on how to use and leverage the power of PLCs to achieve a bigger goal. We throw people together in data teens when we never showed them how to work together as a team. We organize our schools into teams and yet we don't show them how to work together as a team.
So some of that training is really about what are our team meetings need to look like? How do we share leadership amongst our teams? How do we make sure that we are all focused on the right thing as a team, how do we give each other feedback and support as a team? How do it, what do we do when, when we hit, you know, personality differences. As a team you have to be deliberate about providing that social support for people so that people know how to work together towards a bigger goal. So first there's personal support. Second, there are social support. And then the third one, and probably one of my most favorite because this is a Ninja move here, and that's structural support and structural support is really about embedding support into the very culture of your school so that when you are supporting teachers, yes, you can do some things individually.
Yes, you can work together as a team, but how do you make that support permanent?
How do you provide structures that are embedded in your school to make sure that the behaviors that you want from people are an avid double and the undesirable behaviors that you don't want from people are really hard to to exhibit. So this is, this is a high level scale here, but I love this, right? So when you're thinking about structural support, you have to think about will and skill. So think about this. You want teachers to teach and let's go, let's stick with the rigor example. You want teachers to teach in a highly rigorous away. Are you rewarding that? Are you acknowledging that when you go around, when you have a staff meeting, is that the focus of your staff meeting? You know, you want to have a strong vision, mission, and core values, but how are you talking about it?
I did a bonus episode that's coming up shortly with someone who's really taken the core values piece and embedded into the culture. It's a structural thing now. So there are physical cues and reminders about those core values all throughout the building. They have redesigned their discipline policy to support those core values. They've redesigned their master schedule to support those core values. They've redesigned how they do their work in a way that supports their core values. The same thing is true for your schools. If you want rigorous learning cause rigorous teaching is not, the goal is always rigorous learning, but if you want rigorous learning to happen in your school, does your master schedule support that? Does um, the way that your class periods or your sections of time are they structured? Does that support it? Does the way that your classroom is arranged, support it?
Here's another one.
You want kids to be kind, do you have hallways that promote kindness?
Do you have a lunch room setup that supports kindness? You want your staff to work together? Well, if my classroom is on one side of the building and the personal and social work with their classes on the other side of the building and we don't have common planning periods, how am I supposed to work together? So we have to think beyond just the, the, the direct support that we provide for people with the direct support that we provide for groups. And we have to think about, does the structure of our building from the physical layout of classrooms to the reminders that are on the wall to your master schedule, to your meeting agendas, to the, the physical arrangement of the break room. All of those things are things that we often don't think about.
But what they do is they physically a range the environment so that the desired behaviors that you want for people are easier or an evitable and the wrong behaviors are lot harder to do. I always tell this story cause I think it's hilarious, but once when I was an administrator, we had a teacher who was always late to our team meetings and we were trying to figure out what to do. We had talked to him about it and he's like, I know, but I teach and then I get it gets to the restroom and they'll copy and I have to make calls. And so, you know, he just basically just didn't think our team meetings were valuable. So we looked at our structure for a team meetings. We looked at the composition of the team, we looked at all of that still, he wasn't on time.
You know what changed it for him? The thing that changed it for him as we moved our team meetings to his classroom. And so right before the bell rang, I would be outside of his door. And as soon as the kids left, I'm walking in with the rest of the team and we're sitting down and we're having a meeting and it's a lot harder for him to leave and go make phone calls because we're meeting in the same classroom. Well you never was late again. Why? Because we move the meeting to his classroom. So that's what structural support we'll do. You know, chip and Dan Heath wrote a book a while ago called switch and it's about how to change behavior. And they talk about this metaphor of a writer, an elephant and a path. And they say that when you want to change people's behavior, sometimes you have to change the writer.
The writer's like the logical side of your brain. I call that the skill piece. Sometimes you have to change the elephant. The elephant's bigger. It's more powerful. That's the will piece. That's the emotional side of things, but sometimes if you want to direct an elephant, it's not that you need a writer who knows how to, you know, kind of hold the reigns. It's not that you need to train the elephant to go in a certain way. Sometimes all you need to do is change the path because you studies have shown that you'll have a big wide space of grass and you'll have a building on the opposite side, but if there's a sidewalk that goes around the Widespace of grass, instead of taking the direct route right across the lawn, people will take the longer route and take the sidewalk because the path is laid out before them.
The same thing is true when you're helping people are supporting people in terms of helping your school grow. Sometimes you need to work on personal support. I got to work on the individual. Sometimes you need to provide social support. I need to work on us and the way we work together as a team and then we can influence each other and I'm not just dragging an individual towards our goal. I am leveraging the power of the entire team. And you've seen that happen where we have one teacher who's resistant and air everybody else on board the than you, you can try to drag that teacher by yourself or you can enlist the power of the team that you can then list the power of peer pressure and the group brings that person along. So sometimes I need personal support, sometimes I need social support and then sometimes you got to shape the path and the path is that structural support.
Sometimes you can put structures in place to help people do things.
One of the things that I teach my coaching clients is I teach them the power of the master schedule. They never looked forward to that session because you know master schedules are boring and people always said, well we have a master schedule that works. But once you have a vision, mission and core values, your master schedule, if it doesn't reflect your vision, mission and core values, then your vision, mission, core values can't be but so alive in your school.
So I sit down with people and I say, tell me your vision, mission and core values. They tell me, let's say, then show me your master schedule and they showed me and say, your master schedule is telling me have a different set of core values and a lot of times those core values are the needs of the adults Trump needs of the kids.
A lot of times those core values are the needs of the math department. Trump the needs of everybody else. You know your core, your master scheduled tells me your real core values. And so once people understand the power of their master schedules and they start rearranging them, if I want people to call parents and really engage parents as partners, I need to build time to call parents into the mattress schedule. If I want people to collaborate and plan together as teams, I need to build team planning time into the master schedule. If I want people to remediate and support struggling students, I need to provide that remediation time in the master schedule. If I want to do reteaching and retesting, that should be a part of the master schedule. Then you don't have to convince people to do it. I mean you still want to work on those other things too, but the mattress schedule makes it really hard not to reteach and re test when I have a reteaching and retesting period.
So you have to think about all three personal support, social support and structural support and when you are deliberate about thinking about all three, how do I help and empower my teachers to move us towards this vision, this mission and these core values and then what can I do for them personally, socially and structurally to make sure that they have everything that they need to do that. That's how you can begin to support your teachers like a builder.
Now, before we go,
I want to talk to you about builder's lab one more time because if you want to find out how to provide this kind of powerful support, and we're going to be doing a whole session on support at builder's lab, we're going to show you how to set up the whole support system and we have a cheat sheet called the sure fire support cheat sheet.
People see that and you're like, oh, it's all I have to do. So it shows you how to provide people with personal support. We're going to talk about what you need to do to set up for social support and then how you can create structural support that will enable everybody in your building to move towards that vision, mission, and core values. We're going to be talking about that at builder's lab.
Additional to the support that you can get a builder's lab we should stay connected because people are asking me questions.
We're doing episodes in response to people's questions just because we're connected on LinkedIn. So if we're not connected on linkedin yet, please find me at Robyn Jackson on Linkedin and let's connect now. I need your support and there are two ways that you can support me.
The first way is that if you're so inclined, I'd love it if you could leave a review of this podcast on iTunes because that helps other people find the podcast and it gives me great feedback so that I can help create better shows that are better serving your needs.
And if you're not sure how to do that, there's a link on the show notes, just go to the show notes on schoolleadershipreimagined.com/episode36 and we have a link that walks you through how to write a review.
If you could go there and click that link and then leave an honest review on iTunes, it would really help other people find this podcast. Plus it gets me some really great feedback and shows me what I need to be doing to make sure that this stays valuable for you.
Maybe you are too shy to do a review, but you can still help me out because the other thing you can do is if you found today's podcast useful, would you mind sharing it with two people who you also think would benefit from this podcast?
So maybe you are a school administrator and you want to share it with the rest of your administrative team.
Maybe you're an instructional coach and you want to share it with your school administrators.
Maybe you're a district leader and the people that you support at different schools could really benefit from this.
Would you mind sharing this with others? Because that would be, I would count that as a huge favor and I know it would get the word out to this podcast and other people. Plus you look like a hero too because you're passing on a really great resource.
Now let's talk about next time.
We've talked about culture.
We've talked about feedback and we've talked about support that leaves one discipline of buildership lab: accountability.
Dun, Dun, Dun, and I'd save this one for last because you really can't hold somebody accountable unless you've addressed your culture, giving them good feedback and provided them with the right kind of support.
Now I know a lot of you are ready to jump into accountability, but I have to warn you, builders do accountability differently.
In fact, the way that builders do accountability may even seem a little counterintuitive, but trust me, it's way better. No more headaches, no more stress that if you are tired of spending all of your time chasing and checking and correcting people than please join me next time where you're going to discover how to help everybody be more accountable like a builder.
Bye for now. See you next time.
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