Today, I write as a former head of a Jewish day school, as someone who works as the senior mentor for DSLTI, as a mentor in YULead, as a leadership coach for many, and as the Executive Director of the YU School Partnership. I am looking at the Imposter Syndrome, a big part of my life and that of many whom I coach. I am going to be very open and vulnerable in hope that it helps you think deeply.
Mindfulness is getting a lot of attention these days. We read about it in our newspapers and our magazines. We hear how celebrities, professional athletes, corporate executives and even politicians are embracing the age-old art and science of mindfulness. Universities are teaching it and scientists are researching it. But while there certainly is a lot of buzz about it, mindfulness in education is relatively new.
As a classroom teacher, I try to use every tool at my disposal in order to best meet the needs of all my students. One such tool is digital technology. Although the lure of the shiny screens can be deceptive, and student motivation to use technology does not by itself necessarily contribute to student learning, there are a number of ways that technology can indeed open doors to learning for students.
This is my 39th year as an educator. When I entered the field, the personal computer had only recently been invented, and being a global partner usually meant having an international pen.
Now, eleven years into the 21st century, cellphones, Facebook, and Twitter link millions of people across the world; and the power of that instantaneous, international communication has helped to stir revolutions, topple dictators, and upend the political and power structures of nations.
פעמים רבות בעודי מתכננת את יחידת הלימוד הבאה אני תוהה , כיצד אוכל לשלב ״ אפקטים מן החוץ ״ כלומר כיצד אוכל להעשיר את התוכן הנלמד. באמצעים העומדים לרשותי מחוץ לכתלי בית הספר יחידת המנהיגות אותה אני מעבירה לכיתה י ' כחלק מתוכנית הלימודים בבית הספר סיפקה לי לאחרונה שתי הזדמנויות מעין אלו . אחד המאמרים שהסטודנטים התבקשו לקרוא עסק בנאומו של רבין בטקס קבלת ד״ר לשם כבוד מהאוניבסיטה העברית.
Do you remember the Life Cereal commercials from a few decades ago, starring little Mikey – the notoriously picky eater? If you do, then you’ll probably remember the famous line his brothers say when he tries the cereal, “He likes it! Hey, Mikey!”
I remember sitting down for the PSATs in tenth grade. Having gone to a private school my whole life, I wasn’t accustomed to taking standardized tests. I had taken a few, so I knew the drill about filling in bubbles, and I had been told to pick the best answer, not the right one, and all of that jazz. But what I wasn’t prepared for were the easy questions. Yes, that is what I meant. I wasn’t prepared for easy, straightforward questions.
I am blessed this year to teach in a CoLab (Collaboration Laboratory) also known as a flexible learning environment inspired by the work of Don North at the Hillbrook School in Northern California. In an effort to create a mobile environment to support mobile technology, promote self awareness, foster collaboration and differentiation, my students are involved in an educational experience which sparks all aspects of their learning.
Many of us woke this morning to news, e-mails, and Facebook posts sharing the painful news of the terror attack in Har Nof.
We’ve all had those moments. Something amazing happens in your classroom—Sam made the most brilliant observation, Sarah and Rebecca built the coolest contraption, Jonah and Isaac had the most heated and respectful debate – but no one was there to witness it. You think to yourself “If only his mother were here” or “I wish I had that on film.” Sometimes, as teachers, we feel disconnected from the families that complete our students.
I am privileged to work with schools all over North America and to have a view of leadership in our day schools that spans denomination, school size, and age. I work with new Heads of School and experienced Heads of School and I learn so much from each interaction. The following are some of the most important things I’ve learned:
We’ve all known that teacher. He may be young or old, but his best teaching days are behind him. And that’s because he’s burnt out. Maybe he’s just lost his spark, and is going through his teaching days giving the same tired lessons in the same tired way. Or worse, maybe he’s become cynical—ready with a sarcastic comment to a student, and a stream of complaints in the teacher’s lounge. It’s no fun to be his student or his colleague because he sucks the life out of any room. He radiates negative energy, and it’s contagious. He might get fired, but he might stick around for years, making the days drag for the rest of us.
I write a lot and share many articles about school leadership. It’s my job and my passion to make sure our Jewish day school leaders are supported, enriched, networked, pushed to grow, and well cared for. But I am also driven by my passion for children and I want to discuss a known secret we share.
You are the leader and even if you are on vacation, the new school year is on your mind. While it is easy to get caught up with the tasks that need to be completed, I hope you will spend some significant time thinking about what you want the school to feel like this school year.