Thursday, June 27, 2013

Meet the Guest Moderators for July's Special Twitter Chat

Back in April, I shared with you a post called, "Stepping Outside Our Comfort Zone." It was about the the first-ever Twitter Chat called #USedchat hosted by Holly Sutherland and me. For the first #USedchat, we had a twitter party in our high school library for those who were first-time participants and for those who just like to be a part of the action. The chat was a huge success, and we're looking forward to the next quarterly chat that will be held on July 29th.

For the next chat, we've lined up four awesome state chat leaders from around the country to be guest moderators! We're very excited about the topic, Student Voice, and I'm excited to introduce the presenters here in today's post. 

From Arkansas, Daisy Dyer Duerr

Daisy is a co-moderator of #ArkEdChat


From Rhode Island, Don Miller

Don is a co-moderator of #edchatri


From Georgia, Aaryn Schmuhl
Aaryn is the moderator for #gaed

You can read more about Aaryn on his blog here:


From California, David Theriault

David is a co-moderator of #CAedchat

You can read more about David on his blog here:


We hope you will spread the word and encourage your PLN to join the #USedchat on July 29th at 8pmCST!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Speed of Teacher Trust

Steven M. R. Covey, the son of Dr. Steven R. Covey, is the author of a best-selling business book, The Speed of Trust.

In his book, Covey outlines 13 behaviors that underpin organizational success, and he discusses trust as a leadership competency. 

I have said many times that our school is a building full of leaders. Administrators, counselors, custodians, teachers, lunchroom workers, librarians, etc. Anyone who works with and influences kids is in a leadership position. When I read the 13 behaviors, I couldn't help but think about the leader in the classroom-- the teacher -- and the importance of the teacher-student relationship. It is very clear that the teacher-student relationship is an importance part of a positive learning environment. Trust is a key component in any relationship. Covey says that trust a skill that can be learned so that it can be developed with all stakeholders.

When you read this list of the 13 behaviors of high-trust leaders, think about the classroom teacher....

1. Talk straight. Use simple language. Call things what they are. Don't leave false impressions.
2. Demonstrate respect. Show kindness in the little things. Do things to show others you care about, call, email, write thank you notes...
3. Create Transparency. Transparency is about being open and real. Tell the truth in a way that people can verify.
4. Right wrongs. Apologize quickly. Don't cover things up.
5. Show Loyalty. Give credit to others. Speak about people as if they were present. Make it a rule to never talk negatively about family members.

6. Deliver Results. Clarify "results" and make sure you understand the expectation. Establish a track record of results. Make things happen.
7. Get Better. To get better, seek feedback and learn from mistakes (experiences.) 
8. Confront reality. Acknowledge the unsaid, discuss the "undiscussables," lead courageous conversations.
9. Clarify Expectations. Disclose and reveal expectations. Don't assume they are clear or shared. Renegotiate if needed.
10. Practice accountability. Hold others and yourself accountable. Take responsibility for results, and be clear on how you'll them.

11. Listen First. Listen with your ears, eyes, and heart. Don't assume you know what matters most to others.
12. Keep commitments. Make commitments carefully and don't break them. Don't break confidences.
13. Extend trust. Extend trust abundantly to those who have earned your trust. Extend conditionally to those who are earning your trust. 

How important are the 13 behaviors to forging strong teacher-student relationships?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Everyone Needs a Jesse On His Team!

Last weekend, our family took a trip to Panama City Beach. Both of my daughters play sand volleyball, so a "perk" is that we get to go to the beach a few times for tournaments. On Sunday morning we loaded up the car to come home, and the girls (and their partners who stayed with us in the condo) wanted to stop for breakfast at Waffle House. 

When we arrived, all of the tables were taken, and we were greeted by an employee named Jesse. He told us that there would be a table ready soon and that we could have a seat while we waited. Soon, there was a booth that opened up, so the four girls sat there while my husband and I sat at the counter.

From my seat, I was able to see the employees and what they were doing while we were waiting on our order. The system that they had going was quite impressive, and the cooks were pros. There were about 8 employees behind the counter that busy morning, and one employee kept catching my attention... Jesse.

Jesse stayed busy stacking dishes, washing dishes, watching the door for guests, clearing and wiping tables. There wasn't a time when I didn't see him busy. When one of the cooks dropped a dish and it shattered, the other employees kind of stood there and admired the broken dish. Jesse said, "I'll get the broom." 

Soon after we were seated, my husband and I ordered, then I noticed that the girls had not been waited on. My husband called out, "Jesse, can we get someone to get their order?" Jesse replied, "I don't wait tables." While Jesse did most everything that could be done in Waffle House, he was very clear on what his job was not. 

Every team needs a Jesse. 

  • Jesse looked for ways to contribute. Whether it was trimming the batter from the waffle iron or sweeping, he looked for it.
  • Jesse was friendly to the other employees and customers, never showing frustration or a sour attitude.
  • Jesse knew what his role was on the team. He worked within his parameters, but it didn't mean he was limited on how he could contribute.
Jesse inspired me. He made me want to work harder, contribute more, and look for more ways to contribute. 

I hope your team has a Jesse.