Tonya. the principal was about as impressive as an administrator could be. She spent the half hour before school meeting with her department heads and then had to go to the district office for a three-hour meeting. The impressive thing was that when she returned, she wanted to get caught up with everything that had happened while she was gone. Actually it wasn't that she wanted to know but rather that she needed to know. She left no doubt about whose school it is. She 100% owned things. She wasn't micromanaging anything at all, in fact she was far from it. People were doing their jobs quite well. But she just needed to know what was happening.
The concept of ownership in education is one I've been thinking about a lot lately. For students, they really should own their grades. That means staying on top of everything and taking responsibility for any deficiencies in their learning. Again, that is the ideal. For teachers, it is owning their classroom. With everything in their classroom. Classroom environment? That's on the teacher. Student learning? Put that on me too. If a kid isn't learning, then I have to own that and do everything I can to fix it. Ownership is huge and a gigantic responsibility but I really think it's a key. Administrators should own their building. Is something happening in the building that they don't like? That's on them. They have to own that. Fix it. Make it better. But own it. Just as teachers sometimes write off kids that are lazy or not motivated and then blame those kids for acting out or failing, administrators can sometimes do the same thing. They can get frustrated with a myriad of things that happen in their building and also come up with a myriad of reasons and excuses for those things. But guess what. It's on them. They have to own their building. And everything inside it. Picture a school where most of the kids owned their learning. Where each teacher owned their classroom and where administrators owned everything in the building. No excuses allowed. Just constant effort to get better and improve. Anyway, I saw some sweet administrative ownership today and it was really cool.
The Sniper by Liam O'Flaherty
This is a fairly famous story about a sniper who is on a rooftop during wartime who is trying to do his job of snipering. There is also another sniper across the street who is on the other team of snipers who also needs to do some snipering. Also, it has a surprise/not surprising ending.
Story: 6 of 10
Meh. I wanted to like this story more and I actually did enjoy it until the very end. In the end the good sniper snipes the bad sniper to death (This is after he blows the head off an old woman and enemy soldier in the street). Good guy sniper then tries to escape but feels compelled to take a look at the dead bad sniper and SPOILER ALERT the dead sniper turns out to be his brother. The end.
Teachability: 9 of 10
Kids would really enjoy this story. I think some of them would roll their eyes at the familial ending but for the most part it's very well-written and it uses a lot of story devices which could be analyzed. And sadly, boys like violence and things that blow up.