A week ago I attended the NAPP hui as part of the national aspiring principals program. It was an amazing few days that have really challenged my thinking and what I am trying to achieve as an educator. Finding the WHY was the theme that reoccurred for me over the 2 days.
For me, the single best idea I got out of this 2 days was the idea of an educational ‘eddy’. Karen Hopai used this analogy and it really struck a chord with me (Her whole talk was amazing really, I really liked what she had to say). I have spent a bit much time of late focussing on disruption without thinking about what do to after the disruption. (Thanks Paula and Philippa for talking me through some of this) So when I heard this idea, I LOVED it. Eddie’s can create whirlpools that can suck you down, or they can be used to propel you forward in your journey downstream. Strong rocks can withstand them over time, let the water wash around them, while less strong rocks will get shaped over time, and the small stuff will just get swept away. When I was chewing this over out loud, I (hopefully teasingly) got called a Tsunami, which was a good reminder to not be too rushed with ideas and become destructive. Some-one else also said that your end point might be across a rocky sea – there were several references to water through out the 2 days.
The other piece of advice I got from this speaker was to stick at what you are doing. Even if it is just you, or one or two others, the idea will get there and as it gains traction great things can come from it.
The theme of NAPP was to figure out ‘who we are’ as part of exploring what is giving passion and purpose to out leadership. I found this really challenging – I am not really sure where I want to go. Perhaps this is because I haven’t found it yet, or maybe I won’t find it, all I know if that I am not satisfied with the way things are now. So I am still thinking over these concepts. I know I am not ‘happy’ with the status quo, I am doing something about it, but I still haven’t quite always got a handle on understanding the way I am trying to do things. Even focusing on the language I am using will help this.
Another highlight was meeting Rachel Bolstad. Meeting people I’ve meet ‘online’ in real life is always awesome – even if I was a bit ‘star struck’
Her talk was all about possibilities, and how can we make those possibilities a reality. Do we take a what will be will be approach or do we reach out and grab the future and wrest it to our will
Leading without harm was another idea that came up a few times. Again, I’m still not sure about this idea…. Obviously you don’t want to make things worse, but you also need to take risks – if it doesn’t work you can iterate and change. So the balance between action, reaction and inaction seems to be finely poised…
The last speaker (Graeme Stoop) was different again. School leaders are in positions of authority (after 2 days of partnerships and leadership this was a different take…) but what is authority? A title? Power? He had power over us as we all listened to him, but also the audience had power as we could have all got up and walked out (as if….). So it was a reminder that we have a responsibility and for me the big take home there was I can have all the passion in the world (I am quite passionate) but if I don’t have the responsibility to go with it, the passion will go no where.
And finally somewhere over the course of the 2 days (I’ll admit they did start to blur, it was a very full program) we were asked this. What are we going to start doing? Stop doing and keep doing. I have been thinking on and off on this for a week and I’m still not sure exactly how to answer other than my initial scrawlings.
All in all, a LOT to think about and it is going to take more than a week to digest some of the ideas. Thanks to everyone I spoke to and learned from 🙂