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Anne Maschler Reflection on EDAD Experience Dr.

Brad Allison November 2013 What have you learned about yourself and leadership? I have learned that its a tough place to be in, but the right one for me. I feel comfortable in my new role and with moving forward as a leader, but am very well aware that I have a lot of learning and growing ahead of me. On a personal level, I have learned a lot about what makes me think, feel and react the way I do. The MBTI work we did in class has helped me tremendously in not only understanding myself better, but also gaining more perspective on why I find it easier to work with some people than with others. As a leader, I can obviously not pick whom I surround myself with and the MBTI work has been a crucial factor in figuring out how to work effectively with different types of people. Additionally, the reflections we wrote along the way, really forced me to stop and become aware of my process. I have never been one to keep a journal, but I have become fond of written reflections (especially after difficult interactions or when I get stuck in a process), and I will continue this practice in my future work. On a professional level, I have learned a lot about the importance of communication. In one of the readings we did, the author differentiated between Talking at each other and Talking with one another. One way of truly talking with each other is finding that space where people think together. An effective leader reaffirms a sense of possibility, and invites honest participation by putting their ideas up for discussion. The result of this is a shared process of inquiry, which will lead to deeper insights than a presentation of facts or a mock discussion in which the leader/facilitator already has an outcome in mind. As a leader, I need to consider collective intelligence and the inquiry process when leading or participating in conversations. I have also learned about the importance of slowing down. What Peter Senge calls Substituting Effort for Intelligence, endless talking and believing that talking is the actual work, or doing task after task just do be doing something, are phenomena I observe all the time. Slowing

down, stopping in our tracks, assessing priorities, and differentiating between symptoms and problems are crucial to being effective and proactive. Lastly, I have had many chances to reflect on my beliefs and on cultural hegemony. Raising personal and collective awareness is a necessary component of good leadership and will allow a leader to start to change practices. I think that it is important to approach the idea of change with the most in-depth understanding of the word. The necessary change will involve more than adjustments to existing structures and practices. It must be the kind of change that affects the system and therefore requires very open minds and a certain amount of daring from the school leader and the staff. What if might me a good question to ask to open up to new ideas and perspectives. What if we had instruction year round? What if school started at 10? Talking about these issues will be difficult because it is asking humans to questions themselves, look into themselves and possibly acknowledge mistakes or a need to change. But it is necessary and potentially exciting, liberating and fruitful. How will you use what you have learned? Developing a model of sustainable leadership: Id like to be able to do my job for more that a few years without burning out and for someone else being able to pick it up and run with it if/when necessary. I believe that one of the challenges to current school reform in LA is that it relies on the ability and willingness of a few people to dedicate their lives to the school they work at. While that is honorable, its not something anyone can do for years and years. I will have to work on sustaining my passion for the work while paying attention to my private life and the things that give me energy as well. I will have to find ways to share responsibilities and delegate better. After recently listening to a presentation on leadership by the author of The 7 Habits, I have been thinking a lot about his differentiation between important and urgent tasks. In my development as a leader, I would like to naturally think of things in those terms and thereby be able to manage my time better and give more attention to things that often get overlooked because they carry no urgency, but are still important (such as exercise). Developing a stronger understanding of my leadership style and abilities: I am still defining what fulfills me the most, what I stand for and where my weaknesses lie. I

want to be honest with others and myself about who I am and what I value. At the same time, I hope to always be open to new ideas and paths, possibly even away from the world of public schools.. In my leadership work this year I have noticed that I gravitate towards tasks that are aligned with my strengths and interests. While I believe that one important leadership quality is to delegate based on individual strengths, I also see the danger of becoming close-minded. In moving forward, I would like to gain experience in areas that feel uncomfortable or challenging to me, such as parent engagement, making connections with community partners and staff evaluations. This will go hand in hand with being open to criticism, feedback and suggestions. Staying on top of current research and innovation: While I consider my current school to be fairly reform minded, we still operate within the parameters of a classic school. One of my goals as a leader is to have a better idea of what research and ideas are out there in regards to real technology (not just laptops and Power Points), brain development and the use of brain research in education. Although it is sometimes difficult to find the time, I will have to continue informing myself on similar programs and studies to eventually be able to move school reform past the daily schedule and the teacher contracts. Creating a community of like-minded people around me: I need to surround myself with professionals who share my vision and are interested in true collaboration with an open mind for new ideas. I have found that while I tend to want to do everything myself, sharing thoughts with others and talking each other through dilemmas is very powerful. Feeling as a part of a community also fulfills some basic human needs that tend to be a bit neglected when faced with a 60-hour workweek. Being part of a PRN cohort is a good step in building the kind of community I envision, and I plan to add to it by seeking opportunities to be involved in committees and organizations past the school level. Personal Growth: Id like to further investigate my biases, mostly in regards to race and class. The work we have done in the program so far has really opened my eyes to how much I take the way I see the world for granted. I am finding the investigation of my privilege very helpful in understanding my attitudes towards the school system and

my students. In the kind of community I live and work in I have to continue working on my self-awareness and on sharing these ideas with others in the profession. Describe how your site supervisor(s) assisted you in your fieldwork activities in terms of observation and coaching techniques and in ways of successfully fostering learning in adults. My mentor principal was a highly valuable source of support and knowledge. In terms of observation and coaching, he invited me to shadow him as he completed a first round of LAUSDs Teacher Growth and Development Cycle, allowing me to experience the process and reflect on it together. As much as he kept me informed, he always sought out my opinion, which allowed me to really think situations through and apply what I had learned in my classes and through my readings. My principal also supported me in my ILP about English Learner achievement, both with resources and with advice and moral support. Along the way, I know he learned some things about the EL program he didnt know before, and I truly appreciated the mutual respect for each others learning we developed. By becoming a coordinator with the start of the program, I was also able to gather fieldwork experience independently and with the help of colleagues and district staff. I think having at least some out of the classroom duties is necessary to really gather the experiences that are so crucial to making the most out of the residency. What advice can you give the novice EDAD 581 students who will be doing clinical internship experiences? It is crucial that you seek out as many opportunities to do out of the classroom work as possible. Volunteer for committees, shadow people, ask questions. Find a person who believes in you and will question you and help you reflect. Keep reading, and try new things. Dont be afraid to ask for help, its the only way you will learn. Same goes for negative feedback: it hurts a bit, but will help you grow. Dont take it personally if things dont always go the way you planned, but do reflect on yourself as a person just as much as you do on your professional life. If you are in a new position or at a new school, try to bring about change slowly, dont rush in with a bag full of ideas how to make everything new and better, you will get very little support for it. Make the best of it!