In any event, my intent with this post is to encourage you to make some time to read, think, and write on a regular basis. I encourage our teachers to do this, but I think it is especially important for principals to do this. We all know that the days of principals serving a primarily management role are long gone, but the idea of being an instructional leader, I believe, is often times a "pie in the sky" conception of leadership. But I hear it....a lot! Depending on whose definition of instructional leadership you choose to subscribe to, the behaviors and tasks associated with this leadership style vary considerably. I recall attending a workshop once where a presenter defined instructional leaders as principals who spend at least 51% of every school day in a classroom. Obvious to me, this presenter was never a principal. Nonetheless, there is evidence to support principals embracing specific instructional leadership functions to improve student achievement and school outcomes, and I continually try to improve my ability to engage in such behaviors and emphasize these tasks. Read some of the work by Wayne Hoy, Philip Hallinger, and Kenneth Leithwood for more details.
Taking time to read, think, and write is critical to my development as a principal, and it demonstrates my professional commitment to doing all that I can to get all students to learn. I feel this allows me to assist our teachers in areas of need, continually improve our data analysis practices, and help our students and school continue to improve. When I take the time to read, think, and write, I truly feel like I am the lead learner in our school. Modeling this behavior has influenced both teachers and students in our school to do the same. Perhaps it's time for the educational leadership researchers to begin investigating this new conception of leadership....principal as lead learner.
Please share your thoughts.