Meditation on Selfies

I’ve never been good at selfies. I get the angle wrong, you can’t see the background, the final photo is often one of me looking startled, and well, not my best. And these days, as I get older, I’m rarely satisfied with pictures of myself. I’m fine with the aging thing (well, mostly – rather be less stiff in the morning) but photos, and selfies especially seem to highlight that process. Pro tip: sunglasses and a smile always help.

Selfie culture is interesting. I recently watched one young person take a series of selfies as he was walking along the street, apparently randomly. I guess one of those ended up on SnapChat, the latest in a series of pics that show his best side to his friends and followers. But I don’t want to sound like I’m 100 years old.  I’ve heard those over 50’s (and some younger ones) moaning that no one asks anyone to take pictures anymore. So what? I like selfies. I think they’re fun. They make me laugh, and I love to laugh!

Lisa Neale is a brilliant selfie taker. You can see a lot of them on her Instagram account and she’s even taken some good ones of me! I’ve tried to emulate her, but I got so frustrated with my apparent lack of ability with selfies that I looked up some tips. Most of it seemed to be directed at bloggers or people who want to be Insta-famous. Uh, that’s not me. But I do want friends and family to have fun scrolling through my feed.

On a recent vacation, my partner and I had great fun taking selfies and trying to get them right. I stopped being self conscious in front of other tourists and we took tons until they looked OK.  Me holding the phone, her pressing the button.

We may have finally got it! Teamwork really is better.

Good Leaders Read…A Lot

Educators know that reading is power.  I’ve been reading What Connected Leaders Do Differently by Todd Whitaker, Jeff Zoul, and Jimmy Casas. It’s a solid read with an american focus, and I’ve found some great nuggets.

Here’s one: great leaders read all the time.

Photo Credit: The Fresh Feeling Project* Flickr via Compfight cc

Great leaders also always seek to improve. They want to learn and to get better. They’re never satisfied with good enough. Reading is part of that continuous improvement. How else can you explore new ideas and create new schema?

I read a lot, mostly at night or on the weekends. I have a paper book on the nightstand (no screens before bed!) and spending 15 – 20 minutes winding down helps me on two fronts: I can take my mind away from the whirlwind of the day and read something of interest.

What do you do to amp up your reading?

My Leadership Inquiry – the New Problem of Practice

In our district, every educational leader pursues a leadership inquiry. It’s a way to investigate an area of leadership where you want to learn more. That said, it’s not just “pick a topic”! The inquiry must be rooted in continuous learning improvement, which means based on educator learning need, which is, in turn, driven by student learning need. This is difficult work, and one of the most challenging aspects is landing on an inquiry that is meaningful and practical.

Our work has been largely informed by Steven Katz‘s research. The tools we use are intentional interruptions to ways of thinking, such as an inquiry template and a learning conversation protocol. They interrupt that thinking so we can do some real learning.

The leadership inquiry also represents a small slice of our work. In other words, it’s not the whole job crammed into a learning template.  The inquiry is a series of small learning moves that help a leader reflect on how they influence others.

In the interests of transparency, you can view my leadership inquiry here. As I often say to the leaders I work with, it’s an example, not an exemplar. But it gives a flavour of the intense thinking and reflection that I go through with small learning moves. Let me know if you have any questions!

Photo Credit: melystu Flickr via Compfight cc