During my practicum experience at the university housing, I chose to pay attention to the area that I plan to continue studying, and this area is the leadership style. Leadership style is a broad discipline that covers a number of indicators. Therefore, I will handle a few areas from this discipline as shaped by my internship at the university. I believe that it will be an amazing experience to understand the leadership theory in the application of these skills in a real setting. According to a publication of NAESP, one of the main roles that make up part of the indicators of a model school is leading an institution in such a way that adults and students’ learning are placed at the core (Connelly, 2008). A school should be a learning place where both adults and students are responsible for their learning and that of their fellow learners.
I plan to model learning by reading the latest research and keeping up with the current practices to encourage educators to be responsible for their learning. In addition, I will arrange a meeting with all staff members to set annual professional goals and plan how the set goals will be attained. One of my main goals is to focus on the practical aspect of my specialty while keeping in mind the needs of the housing for the students in the end. Additionally, it will be substantial for me to remain focused on meeting my targets and keeping in touch with the reality of the learning situation. I understand that this is a challenging undertaking, but it can be achieved if it is considered a priority. These objectives should be consistent with the vision and goals of the school (Connelly, 2008). I intend to guide instructors to develop these aims. The instructors will also plan on how they will demonstrate that the set goals have been achieved. This can be done through a unit they created, a reflection, collected data, a program from the workshop, etc. At such the staff will not rely on the University for Professional Development; instead, they will take charge of their learning. Nonetheless, setting goals is not enough to satisfy the needed motivation for each member. The supervisor, therefore, should recognize and provide feedback for each effort done by staff members.
I agree that the university need to be instructional leaders that are supportive, and at the same time, they have to come up with high expectations that are achievable and abide by them. Many schools with sufficient resources and training, but limited expectations tend to experience an inadequate change (Hargreaves, 2001). Accountability and supervision make sure changes are witnessed. Additionally, an effective supervisor sets expectations and ensures that staff members are accountable for them through evaluation and monitoring. Without critique, feedback or support there will be no improvements in a given university housing and instructions at large. Therefore, it is essential for duties of a particular position to match its title.
Assessment of the staff must affect the general experience of the students. One cannot assure what they have not monitored (Schmoker, 2006). As a result, administrators should take advantage of walkthroughs for formative assessments. I was lucky to attend the ASCD conference that was held in California. I also made sure I attended Robert Marzano’s presentation concerning staff evaluation and effectiveness. Robert Marzano’s new book, which will be launched during spring, focuses on how to improve staff’s assessment through the use of walkthroughs as a form of formative assessment before evaluation. I like how his walkthroughs are entirely tied to the living and housing of the university students. In my internship I learned that If we establish goals according to the district’s staff assessments and standards, then informal walkthroughs have to be attached to those specific standards (Valesky, 2007). In his presentation, Marzano also talked about the implementation of strategies, which are the same as the ones at the we were taught at the school.
The other task I decided to commit myself to during my practicum contract was revising the existing professional network. I intend to make the current professional network extremely effective. The staff was successful in some key areas, but I intended to make them, especially my team to be more effective, especially in achieving our set targets. Throughout my study, I was able to acquire ideas and examples from Marzano’s presentation. I also had an interview with Steve Dunn, a literacy consultant, and read Boston School district’s universities housing document.
While at the internship, I was also able to learn a lot about the instructional process at the university. Principals can attend classrooms as a symbol of best practice. (Canady, 2008), suggests to have teachers that perform well in a district teacher framework or standards to be hosts. The university educational and housing structure focuses on specific strategies and lessons. Additionally, it entails the coach working hand in hand with the teacher involved in the learning process. The process does not focus on an individual teacher, but all the teachers and implies the importance of coaching every teacher. Coaching every teacher is significant because all teachers end up being effective when they are coached. Steve Dunn, the literacy consultant, recommends the setting up of a lab classroom in each building (Valesky, 2007). Therefore, coaches should work with lab teacher to enhance common practices like student management, differentiation, and engagement before allowing others to monitor or perform walkthroughs. I believe the three models demonstrate that anybody can be an expert teacher through reflection and collaboration with the coach. It seems that each time I research how the current educational system can be improved; it leads back to university teachers working with an instructional coach to advance their instructions before being observed by others. It is, therefore, important to note that everyone can be an expert tutor by reflecting and collaborating with a coach. Consequently, I suggest that the University Vice-chancellor should take advantage of instructional coaches.
Another area of importance in my practicum was to learn more concerning the improvement plans for the employees in the housing department (Connelly, 2008). The ideal way to achieve this was to observe and interview my supervisor who exhibited excellent leadership qualities and had gone through this process successfully, and I learned a lot from my supervisor. My supervisor had previously worked with several employees on improvement plans and currently had convinced three of them out of the career, all with respect and integrity. Additionally, I was influenced to reconsider my career options and settled on pursuing a career in working with international students. I believe that this was the right thing since each person deserves to be in a career that they are comfortable with to perform their best.
I noted down my supervisor’s process, which conforms to the process I was taught in my supervision class. My supervisor informed me that this process was started after attending a state leadership course in conferencing and coaching. After completing the course, he developed enough confidence to work with different employees in different positions. When I mentioned that I had been told that the majority of the employees who were involved in improvement plan placements had to notify their respective union, he replied that the employees he had worked with did not involve the union since he follows the process closely. He concluded that the staff that involve unions in the scenarios I had mentioned worked under supervisors or principals who did not address all the needed steps in the process, which made the involved employees feel deceived (Hargreaves, 2001). When the required steps are observed consistently, workers in the university housing and lecturers are treated with respect and integrity and, at such, they would notfeel cheated. I learned from my supervisor and my course that to work with individual fellow staff members, it takes hard work, consistency, and proper organization. I have a strong feeling that this remains the principal’s biggest job. However, it is complex to prioritize it because of huge duties and responsibilities the principals have.
Marzano asked a question during his presentation that puzzled me. He wanted to find out why most of the staff that is proposed for improvement plans are those who are on the verge of exiting the profession (Valesky, 2007). Additionally, he noted that all of us should be improving our careers. His questions and statements were extremely enlightening. He suggested that career improvement involves working together with other members and forming a strong teamwork. I am happy that I had an excellent team to work with at the university. Moreover, hard work and consistency have been our corner stone as a team. The university housing department was functional and each team member understood their responsibilities, and at such, we were able to support each other and achieve our team and individual goals. Nonetheless, I was not contended to work at the housing department and I would spend most of my time observing how lecturers interacted with different students.
I came to learn that observing a new tutor is an essential tool for learning, yet it is one of the most challenging tasks. It is noted that most teachers are not confident enough to invite their colleagues into their classrooms to observe and offer them feedback even after a year of teaching. In his book, Result Now, Mike Schmoker details the motivation behind the isolation of a teacher. He explains in details the measures that American schools have put in place, which has created the impression that there is a high number of effective schools (Donna, 2009). The quality of schools has been associated with a particular type of tutors who are believed to be more qualified than others despite the fact that they possess the same qualifications. These measures have slowly resulted in teachers’ isolation, inequality especially regarding gender, and racial bias. For instance, most Universities in the US have employed more white males as compared to females. I was confronted with these realities while working at the housing department. Most individuals at the top management were white men. I was not pleased by this gender bias. The experience made me to change my mind, and am looking up to pursue a different path where I will be working with international students.
Currently, I am struggling with the question of how I can influence changes in my current station. Also, I need to convince teachers and students the significance of the concerns raised by Schmoker in his book. These issues and my supervisor’s ideals have become parts of me. My career perspective has shifted thanks to my practicum experiences to the extent that I have decided to change my career path. In my plan, I intend to find out how I can address the issues of inconsistency and accountability among the professional effectively.
Canady, R. L. (2008). Elementary School Scheduling: Enhancing Instruction for Student Achievement. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.
Connelly, G. (2008). Leading Learning Communities: What Principals Should Know and Be Able To Do. Alexandria, Virginia: National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP).
Donna, J. a. (2009). Minnesota Educator Induction Guidelines. Minnesota: .
Hargreaves, A. E. (2001). Learning to change: teaching beyond subjects and standards. Jossey-Bass: san Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Schmoker, M. J. (2006). Results Now: How We Can Achieve Unprecedented Improvements in Teaching and Learning. Alexandria, Virginia: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Valesky, O. a. (2007). Organizational Behavior in Education: Adaptive Leadership and School Reform. Boston. Allyn & Bacon: Massachusettes.