Monday, July 11, 2016

Micromanagement

I don't like the idea that every decision and action must be funneled through me.  As a public school principal, I want the folks around me to use their talent, expertise, and passion in ways that make school better and better for kids every day!  I want to be able to clear paths for folks so that their own improvement efforts shine.

However, there are some things that I micromanage.  We all have the little things that we want to control.  As an assistant principal, I was really picky about checking the textbooks in and out.  I wanted it done my way.  I didn't care which books you wanted.  I didn't care whether you wanted a class set, one book for each kid, or none at all!  I didn't care if you used them one bit!  But I was very specific about how to turn those suckers back in to the book room!  They had to be stacked on the counter, by the door, face down, spine away from the wall, in stacks of five or ten.  This made scanning each book easy for me!

Looking backwards, I can see that I micromanaged a few things during my first gig as principal.  I can also see that the amount of micromanagement decreased each year for five years.  After finishing my first year at my new school, I can see a few things that I will micromanage for a little while.

For example, I want to see kids writing across the curriculum.  Students will be writing at least once per day in each subject.  They will also be sharing their writing with each other.  I want to see it!   I will also be asking teachers to design math lessons so that students are talking about math.  I want to see collaborative problem-solving!  I want students finding creative ways to answer math problems and talking about it!  I want to see it!

These are two of the things I care deeply about and I believe will help move our school forward!  So I will micromanage them. These two things are only a small part of the excellent teaching and learning that already happen, nevertheless, they will definitely increase learning.

There will be other things that I micromanage.  I know what some of them will be.  I'm sure there are some things that I don't even know I will want to micromanage.

The title of micromanager is not one that most folks want to have.  Most folks do not want to be known as one.  But we all do a little bit of micromanagement.  We all have those things that we want done a certain way.  I don't want to be a micromanager but I do micromanage some things.