All posts by lizbdavis

We built it, but not many came… How do we reinvigorate Teachers Unplugged?

0170cd4fb6e7a3edb5790bf13b769ab060dff49002This is the fourth year that I have helped to organize the Teachers Unplugged session at NAISAC. This is a participant driven session in which the attendees propose and vote on topics for discussion and then we sit at round tables and have two 20 minute discussions about the most popular topics. It takes some explaining as people enter, but every year we have heard the same thing from people as they leave the session, “This is the best session I have attended at this conference.”

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I think this has to do with the fact that the sessions are interactive and participatory. The fact that NAISAC brings together independent school folks from all over the country who are grappling with the same questions, makes the unplugged session a unique opportunity to hear and learn from the other attendees at the conference (not just the experts). We even “sketchnoted” during the discussions – putting into direct practice the Doodling message we had heard from Sunni Brown’s talk the day before.

unpluggedroundtablewithsketchnotingThis year we had about 30 people attend the Teachers Unplugged session (about 50 people attended the Administrators Unplugged session the day before). Not only is this a valuable experience for the participants, but you can easily bring this back to your own faculty as an approach to Professional Development. My question is why so few? And how do we get more people to attend?

I think part of the problem is our title – people don’t “get” what an unplugged session is until they get to it. It is a hard concept to explain. How can we rebrand this session to better communicate its value and its benefits? I really don’t want this session to die. NAIS has generously given us large rooms with big tables. I fear if we can’t get the numbers, NAIS won’t be able to justify the space they give us.

Please help! What can we do to help reinvigorate the interest in this session? Do you have an idea for a new session title? Something that would attract more people to give it a chance? I welcome your suggestions!!

Thanks! @lizbdavis

Crossposted at The Power of Educational Technology

33 Great Ideas For Women In Leadership Positions

I attended a great session today titled: Engendering Leadership: How Independent Schools Support Successful Female Leaders. Thank you to Lindsay Koss, Pearl Kane, Lucy Goldstein, Meera Ratnesar, Frances Fondren, Karen Whitaker and Katie Arjona for all of your sage advice!

Here is what I learned:

Leadership is a behavior
1. Leadership is about doing not about the title
2. If your passions don’t align with your institution you have to listen to that and move to a place that fits.
3. You need to know the stereotypes that are attached to you (whatever they may be) – use them for your benefit or debunk them.
4. Be frank and clear in your communication even at the risk of not being perceived as nice.
5. Develop a capacity for solitude – as you move up you have a smaller peer group, develop your capacity to solve things alone or with a smaller group of people.
6. Retain your spirit of joy – It can be a joyful position. Need resiliency. Important you know how to bounce back and find the place of joy again.

Developing yourself
7. Presenting at a conference as a way to develop yourself
8. Rent feedback before you own it – look at the reason for the feedback and who is giving it – before you own it.
9. Be aware of your weaknesses – find people who can help you in those areas

Developing others
10. Modeling the way – you are modeling how to be a leader
11. Encourage leadership in each other and in your students
12. Classroom teaching is great training for leadership
13. Cultivate other people in your school
14. New teacher mentoring is an opportunity to build leaders
15. Listen and allow people to tell you their stories
16. Open yourself up to the people around you
17. Develop a protocol for everyone to have a way to think about their career arc – where would you like to be in 5 years – express aspirations and opportunities for the school to help along the way

Blending work and life
18. Work brings joy – don’t apologize or be a martyr
19. Can’t build walls up between work and life
20. Spend less time worrying about the overlap
21Spend more time making sure both are bringing you joy
22. Model as a leader what it looks like to be off line –
23. Eat a piece of chocolate and go for a run – what are your ways to indulge yourself
24. Embrace the glamour of being in a leadership position
25. Cultivate your mentors and your village
26. Times that are really hard can give you a lot to laugh about

Taking initiative
27. You don’t have to know everything in advance
28. Finance knowledge is attainable –
29. Guidestar – Find out what salaries are and ask for money.
30. Don’t be afraid to talk about your value to the institution
31. Look in the mirror and say no to yourself 10 times – the mirror doesn’t break. Don’t back down.
32. If you don’t get the raise ask for feedback as to why
33. Negotiate for PD funds, for comp time not only for money