Why Instructional Leaders Belong In Classrooms - The Principal Center

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Why Instructional Leaders Belong In Classrooms

Where do leaders belong?

We're often needed in the office, but we like to be “visible.” We like to be in hallways, in dropoff and pickup zones, in lunchrooms and at recess.

How do we stack up to leaders in other industries in this regard?

At Toyota, there's a concept called Genchi Genbutsu, which conveys the idea of going to the gemba, or the place where the actual work is done, and seeing that work firsthand.

Leaders who don't spend time in the gemba won't have the information they need to make decisions, solve problems, and support employees effectively.

As leaders, we need to spend our time where the work is done. We need to understand that work deeply, so we can provide the kind of leadership the organization needs.

Leadership involves making decisions—not the decisions of a distant executive concerned only with numbers, but the decisions of a supportive, on-the-ground manager who understands what's happening on the front lines, and is concerned first and foremost with the success of the people there in the gemba.

As instructional leaders, that means we need to be in classrooms. Is there any doubt or debate about this?

I know I'm not alone in this belief, because more than 3,200 people in 50 countries have joined the 21-Day Instructional Leadership Challenge, which is all about making a habit of being in classrooms.

Documenting What Happens in the Gemba

Being in classrooms has a number of benefits, one of which is the chance to notes and provide written feedback to teachers.

Where should you keep those notes? If you use a comprehensive instructional leadership platform like TeachBoost, that's a good place.

If not, you'll probably want to save your notes in Evernote.

Get Started with Evernote for Free

If you don't have an Evernote account, click here to get started. You can get a free month of Premium (normally $5.99) when you use this link to join, and additional months when you invite a colleague.