Category: School Leaders

 

 

Think of a time when you were telling someone something that you really wanted them to ‘hear’. Perhaps you had summoned the courage to approach a leader and discuss a sensitive issue. Perhaps it was a family member or a trusted friend who you wanted to share a painful experience with, or perhaps it was the person next to you at work who had told you in depth about their holiday and you were about to tell them about your holiday. Whatever the situation, the common ground was that the other person did not listen. You just did not feel heard!

Just prior to delivering the talks at Moore Theological College, Dr Guthrie was asked to take part in a live interview on The Pastor’s Heart.

We need to talk about resilience. The term’s been around for a long time, well, at least for a couple of decades in education. Perhaps it has been around long enough to be taken for granted. The focus of the recent EdComm Conference was on Resilient Teaching. I asked some of the attendees how familiar they were with the term. Some said they’d been thinking about it as an individual but it was not a topic that had received much attention at their school. Others said they were having lively debates with their fellow teachers about the relevance of resilience (and wellness) and had registered for the conference to find out what Dr Donald Guthrie had to say about it. In fact, three respondents from different schools said that their principals had sponsored up to a dozen staff to attend the conference with a view to promoting informed discourse and practical action with the rest of the staff on their return.

(This is the final part of an 8-part series reflecting on the book, Resilient Ministry: What pastors told us about surviving and thriving.)In a school setting the tasks of management...

'The heart of every leader must be humble, seeking the good of others and suspicious of one's own motives' James Plueddemann, Leading across cultures (Burns, Chapman & Guthrie, p77).

It is almost impossible to manage the expectations of others unless our relationship with the Lord is vital and growing. It is in our relationship with God that we find the strength to see clearly, to differentiate from the emotions of others, and to gain the wisdom and insight to address problems (Burns, Chapman & Guthrie, p.184).

Martin Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology, was one of the earliest researchers to study the characteristics that underpin flourishing. His book Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology, published in 2002, popularised his ideas about how to flourish. Before this, the focus of psychology had been to investigate disorder: why mental illness occurred and how to treat it. Because Dr Seligman believes that his research findings show that an individual can strengthen many of the aspects of behaviour and the virtues he showed to underpin resilience, he would answer YES to the question ‘do we have a choice?’

Educators are regularly reported as belonging to the one of the most stressful occupations. The effects of stress are leading to low teacher retention rates and a high prevalence of burnout. There has to be a better way! How can teachers set about reducing their feelings of burnout and improve motivation and work engagement?

Hardships are the most important element in leadership development (Burns, Chapman & Guthrie, p.47).

The Oxford dictionary defines hardship as something that is difficult to endure and one of the causes of suffering.


Q: Consider the degree to which work is the source of your hope, joy, emotional energy, support and success.

Life and work in a school are consuming. As teachers and life-long learners there is always something new to try in our classroom – a better kind of formative assessment, a new type of questioning, a new interactive app to liven up our lessons.

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