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Be a ‘STRONG’ Leader: 6 Skills For Every Good Leader

‘STRONG’ – 6 key skills of great leaders!

S – Shares responsibility

Team Of 8 Blue People Holding Up Connected Pieces To A Colorful Puzzle That Spells Out "Team," Symbolizing Excellent Teamwork, Success And Link Exchanging Clipart Illustration GraphicA good leader will have mastered the art of delegating tasks appropriate to the skills of each individual within their team. Showing a willingness to trust others with this responsibility helps them to feel valued. The danger of course, as many teachers know, is when leaders delegate too much to one person. This can cause a negative effect (feelings of stress, being ‘used,’ taken advantage of) Every member of your team needs to feel valued. A teaching staff who feel valued by their SLT are stronger, more effective and are likely to achieve higher standards in the classroom. Be a great leader, see the strengths in each teacher and share some responsibility with them! For tips on delegation see: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2010/02/23/leadership-the-importance-of-knowing-how-to-delegate (Image source: http://bauscharddebate.com)

T – Tolerant

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One of the brilliant qualities of an effective leader is the ability to show tolerance in times of crisis. Keeping calm, composed and steadfast in the midst of stormy situations when emotions are running high, is truly essential for a good leader. For many teachers, issues may arise with parents or even with other staff across departments – a cool head and a proactive attitude are skills a leader will need to employ to defuse the situation, showing a tolerance and understanding of both viewpoints whilst having initiative to resolve the incident. Be a great leader, stay calm under pressure! (Image source: http://barry-overstreet.com)

R – Respectful

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Great leaders need to ooze respect – respect for themselves and respect for others. By having respect for yourself in your environment, you are being an exemplary role model. I know that Facebook has caused many people across the province to lose their job due to the nature of their posts. Social media has fantastic benefits for teachers, but extreme caution needs to be taken when it comes to sharing personal photographs or information – always retain your respect. Respecting others opinions, praising their achievements and showing they are valued members of your team, earns respect in return. Be a great leader, respect yourself and respect others! For more tips on respect within a leadership role see: http://respectandleadership.net/ (Image source: http://www.technologybloggers.org)

O – Open-minded

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An effective leader will evaluate the situation at hand and will have a vision of what they want. It is important that leaders consider all options when making decisions towards their vision – evaluating the input from all staff for the betterment of the whole. A good leader will be open–minded about new initiatives and about changing current practice – but even more important, they will remain realistic about the value of new ideas. Be a great leader, embrace new ideas to show you are open-minded! For more tips on being an open-minded leader, see http://www.ehow.com/info_8151891_characteristics-openminded-leader.html (Image source: http://www.socialconversations.com)

N – Nurturing

powerofEncouragementI think one of the downfalls of a leader is when they let the position get to their heads! They think they are above the staff and get a prestigious attitude. One of the qualities I admire the most in my leaders is the ability to nurture – to encourage, praise and give support to their staff. It really makes me feel like I am a valued member of the school and that all the hard work I do, is not only noticed, but it is appreciated. Be a great leader, take the time to encourage and praise! (Image source: http://www.revivallifestyle.com)

G – Good listener

Good-Listener-620x480Great leaders will have excellent listening skills. Having the ability to listen to members of your team shows them that you trust and value their opinion. It shows that you are willing to understand the situation so you can make the best informed decision. Staff will have issues that need addressed at SLT level – listening to them and giving them feedback on their concerns is essential. Always have time for members of your team – a good leader will make time for every individual regardless of how busy they are. Be a great leader, listen, feedback and make time! For more tips on being a good listener, see http://web.missouri.edu/~campbellr/Leadership/chapter6.htm (Image source: http://cdn3.blackenterprise.com)

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‘SMILE’ Your Way Through Every Day

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A Child-Centred Approach – at the Heart of Every Good Teacher

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5 Qualities of Inspirational Teachers

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Being a ‘F.R.E.S.H’ 21st Century Teacher

It cannot be denied that newly qualified teachers need to stand out from the crowd in order to get a job. Even those teachers fortunate enough to be employed need to ensure that they keep moving forward in their classrooms. In order to be an effective 21st Century Teacher, all educators  – old or new – need to adopt a FRESH approach in the classroom.

1. Flexible

Teachers are masters of multi-tasking, in fact, if you take a nanosecond to stop and just look at everything you are juggling in that moment, you will be amazed. With the demands and pressures of everything that is connected to the teaching profession, we are faced with daily challenges – pupils absent and needing caught up on missing work, admin deadlines, reports, assessments, keeping classes motivated, ensuring learning is taking place, behaviour management, telephone calls, planning ahead etc. etc. etc. – the list goes on! It is absolutely essential that teachers embrace flexibility in order to ensure that these interruptions to daily ‘teaching’ do not cause teacher burnout! 21st Century teachers are being faced with increasing demands to change lesson plans, change teaching strategies and use more ICT. Now more than ever, teachers need to demonstrate that they can be flexible with ease, adapt to change and more than that, embrace change. We all need to give in at times to what we are used to and try something new, as daunting as it may seem. The need to involve technology in the classroom is growing, so try something new, take small steps in the right direction, but show you are willing be to flexible with your lessons and with using technology. Melissa Kelly gives us some useful tips on how to ‘Learn to be Flexible,’ have a read. (Image source: http://thepeoplegroup.com)

2. Resourceful

It is clear we all need to keep thinking of new ways to teach our subject material, ways to maintain engagement, ways to make material relevant, inspiring and thought-provoking, after all, this is how learning takes place. An effective 21st Century Teacher needs to be extremely resourceful, always expanding their repertoire of resources and teaching methods. This means keeping up to date with modern technological trends, collaborating with other teachers to help our professional development, finding out new software, new ideas, new uses of interactive whiteboards that will help appeal to our students. A lot of schools think being resourceful means spending money, money they do not have, therefore they use this excuse not to adapt teaching methods. This notion is false! There are so many free resources, teaching aids, pieces of technology and wonderful websites that can be incorporated into lessons with ease. It just takes a little effort and flexibility! Check out Philip Drury’s information on being a resourceful teacher, some useful tips. (Image source: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk)

3. Enthusiastic

Enthusiasm has got to be one of the top qualities teachers sell themselves with in interviews – ‘Yes, I have great enthusiasm for the job, I absolutely love teaching children!’ But in reality, does this enthusiasm shine from their classroom and from them? For many yes, but for some, no! 21st Century Teachers need to be enthusiastic about how education is moving forward – embrace the changes rather than complain about them, see opportunites for making lessons even greater and more stimulating! Facing all of the challenges of this occupation with a positive attitude is essential, after all, we are role models for our pupils. Do we want to model a moaning unwillingness to try new things? No way! Modelling enthusiasm helps entice pupils into the lessons. It also makes our day-to-day lessons much more enjoyable when we love what we do! Read about the importance of enthusiasm with all teachers, outlined by Kayla Cunningham. (Image source: http://1.bp.blogspot.com)

4. Supportive

It may seem like common sense, but never underestimate how showing a little support can mean the world to someone. I know that because I have been brought up with technology, I am more accustomed to experimenting and playing around until I can figure something new out. To many teachers, a computer, never mind anything else, is daunting! It is imperative for 21st Century Teachers to support each other in the transition into bringing all colleagues into 21st Century education. Share your skills, take the time to help others with technology. Remember this is all new to many so have patience. A school full of supportive staff is a wonderful environment to be part of! Larry Ferlazzo has created a great article called Several Ways Teachers Can Create a Supportive Environment For Each Other, check it out for some great tips. (Image source: http://www.lawgazette.co.uk)

5. Harmonious

Teaching is all about working in a team – within departments but also within the school as a whole – but in order to be a great 21st Century teacher, that team needs to extend beyond the school walls to a local and even global base! Opportunites are endless in this technology-rich society to collaborate with other teachers – we need to make the most of this to build one large harmonious group of educators who share together. Robert Klassen and Tracy Durksen explain the importance of such collaboration for the modern teacher in their publication, Teachers Working Together. (Image source: http://www.integraphix.com)

5 Starter iPad apps for the 21st Century Teacher

There is no doubt that the use of the ipad in the classroom is becoming increasingly popular with teachers, or should I say, those teachers willing to embrace new technology! Unfortunately, I have no interactive whiteboard in my classroom (hoping I will have very soon!) but I do have an ipad and can see sooooo much potential with many of the apps I have downloaded!

There are hundreds of fantastic apps that can be used by teachers, even subject specific apps. Here are 5 general apps to start you off using your ipad in the classroom:

1. Dropbox

DropboxDropbox is fantastic for teachers, particularly those who use ipads! It provides an easy, effective platform for storing work in the cloud – meaning that all the work and files you upload to dropbox, can be accessed from ANY computer you want to log on to! You can create folders to share with others on dropbox, giving restricted access to each folder. Dropbox can also be used with pupils, to submit work via the cloud! This is the latest method of collecting work, something I hope to try too! Check out Dropbox for the ipad and experiment with how you could use this with either your colleagues, your pupils, or just for you! (Image source: http://www.androidguys.com)

2. My LessonPlan

Lesson Plans, as much as many teachers complain about them, they are an unavoidable part of the occupation. Necessary to compile and store as well as not forgetting, updating as we adapt new strategies! Why not use a more streamlined, easy to store and easy to edit method of lesson planning? The My LessonPlan app allows teachers to create, store, print, email and customise their lesson plans. You can share lesson plans at the click of a button with members of staff – particularly effective when a new member joins the department! The new iOS allows you to dictate your lesson plans, so little typing is needed! Check out My LessonPlan and start transferring those paper lesson plans or non-existent lesson plans into an easy, effective app. (Image source: http://a1188.phobos.apple.com)

3. Educreations

This is a great tool for a multitude of reasons! Teachers can create tutorial videos on their ipad, recording their audio explanation as they demo on the screen. The videos can be placed in a VLE, emailed to pupils as guidance for homework, stored and shared for revision at exam time or even used if a pupil was absent from class or simply needs clarification on a particular aspect! It is such a great tool as it appeals to our visual and auditory learners and is motivitional revision for those lacking interest with paper booklets. Have a look at Educreations and see the potential for its use in a variety of situations. (Image source: http://d1czawyup1trel.cloudfront.net)

4. TeacherKit

TeacherKit is the ultimate app for creating an organised environment and keeping organised records that are easily accessed on parents evenings and meetings. You can create records for all your pupils, monitoring grades, behaviour, attendance in your lesson. Seating plans can be generated and adapted when necessary. Parents and Pupils can be emailed from the app with gradebook progress updates. No more paper gradebooks or teacher planners carried around to parents evening – just bring your ipad! Check out TeacherKit to see how you could use this in your classroom organisation. (Image source:  http://teacherkit.net)

5. Pinterest

Pinterest is underestimated in education – teachers can use this app to help with many aspects of the job! The fantastic array of ideas shared in the ‘Education’ pins is simply wonderful. Ideas for lessons, for classroom organisation and for classroom displays are plentiful and constantly being updated every minute! Not only is it great for ideas, it is fabulous for collaboration with other teachers around the world. You can really benefit from this simple, effective Pinterest app in your professional development. (Image source: http://tblc.org)