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.
What do teaching and pastoral ministry have in common?
Neither teaching or pastoral ministry are just a job. Both are a vocation or calling for the Christian. Both embrace a big picture that requires the person to have vision and expertise that can put that vision into practice, whether in the context of the church or the school.
‘As professions, Teaching and Nursing tend to be at the top of the scale when it comes to lack of self-care.’ (Said by a Clinical Psychologist at an AIS seminar some years ago.) I’ve never forgotten this statement and I’ve always grappled with how we can improve this situation for teachers.
Pasi Sahlberg, renowned Finnish educator, who introduced the world to Finnish education, outlines in this compact book, four lessons of Finnish education that can be useful to all educators - making recess the right of the child, using small data, a commitment to equity, and avoiding myths about Finnish education.
A review of literature indicates that there are concerns in a number of countries that the role of principal, conceived for the needs of the past, is no longer relevant or effective to deal with the complex challenges schools are facing in the 21st century (Duignan, 2012, p. 121).
Duignan argues that every action of leadership in a school should be based on moral principles that are underpinned by a clearly articulated value system. These values should provide the reason why leaders do what they do. But how many of us are familiar with the values statements of our schools? Do our schools have values statements and if so are they ever made explicit to staff and students?
Many of the challenges facing educational leaders involve situations where values and ethics are contested. These challenges are multi-dimensional and involve complex human behaviour, as well as different expectations and possibly different values from different stakeholders who may be culturally diverse.
“The issue is not how friendly formal leaders should be with those who work with them, but how organisational members can work together professionally as a team to achieve the goals and objectives of the organisation.”
Leadership in a turbulent, uncertain and rapidly changing world needs leaders who are capable of responding ‘adaptively to the depth, scope, and pace of change that combined with complexity creates unprecedented conditions’ (Parkes, 2005 in Duignan, 2012, p. 17). In the context of education adapting to new challenges involves learning and developing new leadership capacities...
Courageous, ethical and authentic leadership action is needed to challenge current trends. If we accept that the Melbourne Declaration of Educational Standards for Young Australians (2008) helps teachers to define their moral purpose, at least in part, we must ask ourselves not only what a successful learner looks like and how do students become confident and creative, but also how do we raise active and informed twenty-first century citizens in a world where social processes and institutions encourage new forms of individualism and increasingly more selfish modes of living?