Give Way to Voice

Everyone has a voice. How are we listening to the voices that matter most in the work that we do?

I was deeply moved by an article I read recently. It told of the thousands of letters written on a daily basis by people in our country. These letters were written by everyday, ordinary people like you and me. The letters expressed their hopes and dreams, thoughts and questions. The article didn’t stop there.  It went on to share the thoughts and feelings of the special people responsible for reading those letters. Every. Single. One.

This article took me back to my own principalship and the many opportunities that allowed me to hear the voices of those in my own school community. I remember the times students ran down to my office to have me read a story or essay they had just written, giving a glimpse into their hearts and minds. I remember the times parents scheduled individual meetings with me to tell me something unique and special about their child and why they felt it was important for me to know. I recall the many conversations in the halls and informal meetings with teachers where they shared what mattered most to them. I especially remember the time I was suddenly ill and my assistant principal delivered a basket of letters from many students in my school. I remember reading the one from the student who asked for clarity on the “no paper airplane” rule and why he thought it was unfair. Much like those letters from my students, the ones shared in the article caused a similar reaction, including causing me to laugh and cry. But mostly the letters made me think. Eventually, those letters caused me to act.

How are you as leaders making time for hearing the hopes and dreams of students, parents and teachers in your school? What are their stories? How are you connecting those stories to the important work in your school for the learning, growth and development of all?

-Sonja Howard, Coordinator for Statewide Leadership (Administrator Quality)

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply