Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fear and George Couros

George Couros “The Principal of Change” wrote a short article on fear for his December 1st posting. He had just returned from a conference, which included a session with Will Richardson. A question from the session ignited a reflection in George: “What’s one fear you’re going to have to overcome to lead your school forward?” He then went on to list twelve fears that drive him.

I can relate to all twelve, but his last, “fear that our students and staff are not having fun” really resonated with me. I envision my primary mission/goal, as a principal to be fostering an environment where fun and enjoyment of learning is maximized. My reasoning is this: teachers do their best instruction when they are happy, relaxed, and connected with their students, and student learning is optimized when they are enjoying the content they are exploring. Creating such a school climate can be a challenge given the federal, state, and district directives schools must follow. Not to mention the crazy standardized testing cycle education is involved in as we race to the top.

The following are my email contributions to our staff and the district elementary principals to foster a positive learning climate for students of our school and district:

Good Friday Morning LC Cowboy Staff,

As the holidays bring the close of another year. I have this fear. Will another year go by without you discovering, or for some of you rediscovering, the JOY of this profession?

Our students are so alive. Catch their energy. Enjoy what they have to teach you. This will bring the focus back to the real center of your work. THE KIDS.

Sling some fish with your class today. Hey, it's “80 Days @ LC”. Have some fun!

Ashley, Jennifer, Jillian, Danielle, and Jennifer, (our student teachers)
It’s your last day with the Cowboys. Thank you for learning with us. Hope you enjoyed your time here. Have we helped you discover the JOY of teaching? I sure hope so.

Wishing everyone a weekend filled with happiness and good times.


After writing the Fear email to the staff, George’s message continued to race through my mind. How would my peers react to the Fear message? Would they reflect on what fear drives them. I felt compelled to share the post on Fear with the other 45 elementary principals in the school district. This is so out of character for quiet me. Stepping out of my comfort zone, I sent the following email:

Good Morning Peers,

One of the blogs I follow is “The Principal of Change” written by George Couros. George says, “I am a K-12 Principal in Stony Plain, Alberta, Canada, who wants to help and inspire others to find their passion.” I would say his outstanding sharing on twitter and his blog postings are touching and inspiring educators around the world.

I am sharing his December 1 posting titled “Fear” at The Principal of Change. After reading his short post, I encourage you to answer his question. What fear drives you?

It is 80s Day at Longs Creek, and we are having a blast. I hope your day follows the same pattern.

Rich Cantrell
Longs Creek

I am delighted to say, I have had a few responses from my peers. Let’s hope George’s message brings reflection for them and a refocus on what is most important in their efforts with students and staff.

Have you added to George’s list of “What fear drives you”? Why not now? The Principal of Change

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