In July this year, I was registered in a Principal Training Center (PTC) course on Effective Leadership. If you are an aspiring educational leader, I would highly recommend these courses! As part of the PTC Course protocols, we are asked to create an application task, an action plan, as a consolidation from the seven days of our learning. As I was joining a new learning community here in Bangkok, I chose to create an entry plan for my application task. We are now just on the other side of our October break, and I am preparing to ask my learning community for some feedback to feedforward both my practice and my own learning growth as a coordinator. Below is a summary and a video recording of my entry plan, developed in July 2021.
I am heading into a new school environment but taking on the same role I currently have; Primary Years Programme (PYP) Coordinator. KIS International is a community-based school and half the size of my current school. A number of teachers and leadership have been at the school for 14+ years. The educators at KIS International emulate lifelong learning and welcome any opportunity to learn. Connections I have made with the educators within the community reflect that they are looking forward to being challenged in their practice and growing in their understanding of the PYP.
I am very aware of the pitfalls of rushing in and imposing myself and my past experiences on the school and the teachers and wish to take my time to form relationships, to connect with the community, and to explore perspectives – my own personal inquiry into the school, the people, and the learning. I am aware of my “influencer” (DISC) and having my natural instinct to dive in enthusiastically and “fix things.” I realize the need to take on more of the “Steady and Dominance,” bringing some balance to my approach. I also want to avoid any assumptions and take time to investigate, spend time in classrooms and with the school community outside of formal meetings and situations.
My application task is focused on my entry plan as I join my new learning community in late July. My entry plan is future orientated and supports not just my growth as a leader but also the growth of those in my learning community and is focused around the first six weeks as I transition into a new city, country, and learning community.
Through the PTC I have come to understand that I am an “influencer” and that my tendency to be “flowery” and a little too “big picture” can lead to a lack of clarity for my teams. Thus, I have chosen the words intentional and magnificence to guide me and keep me accountable throughout the process. Using these two words as my anchors will support me in ensuring that my actions and interactions within the first six weeks are intentional and purposeful, and designed to support everyone in their quest for magnificence.
My entry plan also reflects my own value of “people first” and ensures that entire relationships are honored. And so, I have intentionally reserved time to meet with individuals and teams prior to the work zone so that we have the opportunity to get to know each other as people first. For these one to ones, and those that follow, I will be focusing on my active listening skills and listening to understand. My role as coordinator is to support others in their understanding of our program, to help teachers in their own professional development and classroom practice. To meet this goal, I have intentionally planned to spend time in classrooms, teaching and working with students.
My learning through the PTC highlighted the importance of developing Emotional Quotient (the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways), and this will be one of my own goals as I develop self-awareness and social competence. Through the first six weeks of my entry plan, I will be leading by example, modeling for my teams and staff the inquiry model, the attributes of the Learner Profile, and the Approaches to Learning skills. I will also be modeling reflection and setting up personal habits for success such as daily journaling. One of the expectations and standards in the IB is collaboration; so, working together with Grade Level Learners, individual team members, and the team itself, I will be referring to the elements of what makes an effective team to guide us through our first six weeks together.
Although designed with the best intentions in mind, I am aware that there will be things out of my control. And so, to keep in mind that like learning, leadership is not linear and thus will at times be messy. Thus, I will have to be flexible and adapt whilst letting go of my ego and plans and remember that it is not about me, but rather my people. I am committed to taking a breath and resetting in the October break and using the reflections and the learning from the first six weeks to help plan the next.
Remember to breathe, to have gratitude, and to enjoy the learning journey.
Please find my video recording for the PTC Application task HERE
My next steps are to reach out and invite my learning community to support my own professional growth by inviting them to complete a google form for “Feedback to Feedforward” ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tania is the PYP Coordinator at KIS International School, Bangkok.