Sharing ideas on Education, Leadership and Life

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Balance vs Culture

As part of the Harvard Principals Institute I attended  we needed to share one of the biggest leadership challenges. There are many that we all had and we all had very similar ones but the biggest one for me is trying to create a balance between being open and supportive while at the same time being firm at times and having those difficult conversations. As I look back on my first year in my current position I had this balance to contend with, the Ying and then there was the Yang in  creating a faculty culture of trust, openness and not micro managing. Coming into the position from what I heard the creating this culture was very important. I believe I was successful, one teacher commented that I was easy to talk to since I always had an open door and was open and honest with her. 
However I lost sight of the balance. In an effort to build trust I did away with lesson plans, following the advice of a mentor of mine who  said that  you need to trust the teachers to be professional in the classroom and if you can't trust them then they shouldn't be working for you. I also want to get the teachers to think more about their own learning and what they do in the classroom and not just write down what they had hoped to accomplish. Therefore , I tried faculty reflections but that didn't work. The bottom line was that I swung the pendulum too far and I only focused on one area of faculty culture and lost sight of the balance needed .  


  1. Great post. Finding balance is a great goal to have, yet so difficult to attain. You are way too hard on yourself. I think the best learning occurs when we make mistakes, as long as we reflect on them and grow. You're one of the most reflective educators I know...any school is lucky to have you!

  2. Thanks a lot Rachel!
    I still ask myself if in the short run was creating the right culture better? I am not sure. What I do know is that even in creating culture we need to balance that with a bit of firmness.

    I thank you for your kind words!

  3. So sorry to see you go. We'll miss you. :(

    Aliza Feinstein