Seeing An Impact

One of my favorite parts of teaching world history was watching students grow. Getting to spend two years with a group of students allowed me to see skills and confidence develop over a longer period of time than over just one year together in a classroom.

If you looked at an incoming grade nine in September, then compared them to what they could do in December there were visible differences. Give them another year and a half? Huge growth. Students could find better evidence. Write more convincing analysis. Read more complex documents. Self-regulate for extended periods of project time. Present publicly with grace and poise.

Those things were all visible. Even over shorter arcs like a month you could see growth from students.

One of the things that I’ve struggled with this year is the lack of a visible impact. I don’t see students in class every day. I don’t get to watch a skillset grow and blossom. The things I was used to seeing in the classroom aren’t metrics I see anymore.

This isn’t a complaint. But it is different. I’m sure as I learn the job of VP those growth areas I got accustomed to seeing in the classroom will show up in my new job as well. But for now, I don’t immediately see those growth areas; I’m not sure yet where I should be looking. And because of that things feel a little different, a little less measurable. I can’t see the impact that I’m having.

But in time…

This is where you, the administrator, comes in. How do you see your impact in your school? What are you looking for? What are you watching? I’m curious!

4 thoughts on “Seeing An Impact”

  1. Oh I love this! Lots to chat about! Some of the areas I love to see growth in are: growth in new teachers, improvements to school culture, achievement of students, staff job satisfaction, positive behaviour supports, helping students find their strengths, cross curricular connections, connections to parents and the community. Looking forward to brainstorming together!

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    1. Yes! Because I’m used to seeing growth from student writing ability, or public speaking skill, I know how to see growth in those areas. I don’t know how to see growth in the areas you mentioned – yet 🙂 I feel like we can figure out how to I can learn to see that a little more clearly though. Looking forward to it!

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  2. This is a big shift Karl, you are absolutely correct. When considering your work with teachers, one area of “look fors” that I am increasingly focusing on is the learning culture among staff. Are they not only innovating in their classrooms, but doing so together with their colleagues? Are they open to trying something that may fail, and open to sharing their stories? Are they able to observe each other and debrief afterword, during school hours? Are there resources available (including time) devote to R & D projects designed and implemented by staff? Do staff feel confident sharing their stories and ideas with other staff members? Do teachers feel that I have their back if they try something new and it doesn’t work out as planned? These are difficult things to get specific metrics on, but I feel that they are tremendously important. Keep up the awesome work Karl!

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    1. Yeah, I really like your list Tom. Unfortunately, as you said, those are hard things to get specific metrics on! I know that with time, I became better as a teacher in what I was able to see in student work and conversation in the classroom. I’m hopeful that with more reps I’ll get better at seeing evidence of the areas you mentioned above. It’s going to take some time though. Thanks for your thoughts!

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