We Will All Be Judged by One Thing.....The Results!
“John Hattie (2015) has added further confirmation to our conclusions in his report What Works Best in Education: The Politics of Collaborative Expertise. His conclusion represents a powerful endorsement of our findings: “the greatest influence on student progression in learning is having highly expert, inspired and passionate teachers and school leaders working together to maximize the effect of their teaching on all students in their care” (p. 2).” ― Michael Fullan, Coherence: The Right Drivers in Action for Schools, Districts, and Systems
For systemic change to take place and schools to improve significantly, there must be instructional coherence across the entire organization. People operate within systems and do what systems allow. If we permit and allows excuses, we'll get more of them. If we focus on results and performance with laser-like focus, we will have a far greater potential for success. Too many schools and leaders simply make excuses for failure, but the fact remains that they failed. Their focus should be on doing everything in their power to be successful and not letting the things they don’t control impact their performance on the things they control. Like Vince Lombardi said "Some people may do our jobs well and some will not, but we will all be judged by only one thing - the results!"
Excuses Don't Count, Results Do!
One of the first excuses for failure is far too often to blame the kids. We don’t control which students walk through our doors each day, it’s our job to educate them to the best of our ability. While some people in the school may not believe it, every parent sends us the best kid they have. They don’t have a better kid locked up at home that will make straight A’s and never misbehaves, the one we get in our classrooms is the best they have to send. We don’t control the level of proficiency or performance level they come to us on. It’s our job to find a way to reach them and teach them, to make at least a year’s growth in a year’s time and even more if students are coming to us below grade level proficiency to help close the achievement gap. There’s always the excuse of more resources to which we have to ask “is it truly a lack of resources or a lack of resourcefulness?” The truth is that the best leaders and teachers find a way to be successful. In Hattie’s Visible Learning, the top factors that impact student learning to a positive degree the very most have nothing to do with resources and everything to do with the actions and attitudes of the adults to influence student learning significantly in a positive manner. After blaming the students, the parents are often the next to be blamed. “If we had more parent involvement? If our parents made the kids do their work? If they produced and raised smarter kids?” Parents generally do the best they know how to do, we must help them be able to do more to support. In many cases, this isn’t a factor within our control without going to great lengths or exhausting extensive resources. Wouldn’t that extensive amount of time and resources generate far greater results if they were spent on students? You only have a limited amount of time and resources, it’s part of instructional coherence to make sure they are spent where they can yield the most positive impacts on student learning. Principals too often place blame on the teachers. The truth is that most teachers are doing the very best they can and it’s the job of the principal, instructional leader, to ensure all teaching and learning is effective and help to support/build capacity when needed. Great principals hire, train, motivate and retain great teachers. There’s the excuse of the curriculum and standards being too tough. It seems logical and makes sense for the instruction to be rigorous if it’s supposed to prepare graduating students to be globally competitive. Why would you want the curriculum or standards to be easy? There’s the excuse of needing to add more technology and/or the latest instructional ideas, but the data doesn’t support this either as having a significantly positive impact on student learning. So we’ve tried to fix the students, the parents, the teachers, the principals, the finances and resources, and the infrastructure? After all of this blame about what needs to be fixed, we’ve yet to solve the problem and fix what we can control. The fact remains that assigning blame never fixed a problem. We will all be held accountable by our results; we need to spend our time and resources of doing things that will have the most significant positive impacts on student learning. Find a way to be successful, we all have that capacity if we want it bad enough. The research is already out there that tells us what to do and how to do it, the doing is up to us though! It's time to stop making excuses and find a way to get results. In the end, the results are what we will be judged by!
The fact remains that assigning blame never fixed a problem. We will all be held accountable by our results; we need to spend our time and resources of doing things that will have the most significant positive impacts on student learning. Find a way to be successful, we all have that capacity if we want it bad enough. The research is already out there that tells us what to do and how to do it, the doing is up to us though! It's time to stop making excuses and find a way to get results. In the end, the results are what we will be judged by!