Hope’s sister, Faith

Like a Siamese twin Faith must come with Hope. Sergiovanni (2005) defines faith as the set of assumptions people make when they have hope in something. And he points out that our faith/assumptions will suggest pathways to be taken.

Individuals with high hope possess goals, find pathways to these goals, navigate around obstacles, and develop agency to reach their goals (McDermott, Pedrotti, Edwards, and Houske, as cited in Sergiovanni, 2005, p. 81).

So here’s something I have faith in (a project I’ve begun work on at school) —

  • the more children read or are read to, the better readers they will become

What is my Goal —

  • to turn every one of the children at our school into a ‘reader’; each student, a child who enjoys books and stories no matter what their literacy level is.

What are my pathways?

  • I’m working from the lower end of the school up. A large amount of good stories and books (fiction and non-fiction) are needed to hook students from Prep and build on their love of reading from there.
  • I’m working with the Prep teacher Wendy to start on a Power Readers book bag system as suggested by David Loertscher.
  • I’m going to talk to the parents of the Preps, along with their teacher. We’ll talk to them about the importance of reading, we’ll spell out the book bag program, we’ll pass on the information from Mem Fox’s website and Steven Krashen’s studies.
  • I’m going to excite the kids by showing them new acquisitions on a regular basis, by listening to what they want to read and following up with requests quickly. I’ll continue to read and talk about books with them when they come to their weekly library session.

What are the obstacles?

  • budget restraints (I’ll make picture books one of my collection development priorities in next years budget and try to get the parent support group on board)
  • parents who don’t have time/inclination to read to their children (education, constant reinforcement needed, make it matter to them)

How will I measure my efficacy?

  • books are being taken out by the child on a regular basis on their card
  • I see them reading a book in ‘library’ time on a regular basis (photos for reference?)
  • anecdotal evidence from teacher/parent – follow up on class meeting nights.
  • student developmental reports done by the classroom teacher.

I’ll keep you posted about how it all goes.

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Sergiovanni, T. (2005). Hope, Trust, Community, Other Virtues. In Strengthening the heartbeat: Leading and learning together in schools (pp. 75-100). San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass.

Pie-in-the-Sky vs Realistic Hope – First of the Four Virtues of Leadership

A culture comes to exist and is passed on when the people within a group understand their group’s purposes and ‘live their values’ on a daily basis. School cultures are no different. So if leadership is action as discussed in my last journal entry then leaders must be the ones to live the values the ‘loudest’ or as others call it ‘walk the talk’.

Fullan (2004) lists three vital personal characteristics that  when practised by leaders are infectious: Hope, Energy and Enthusiasm. Sergiovanni (2005) suggests there are four leadership virtues that when embodied will give a leader leverage to transform a school culture: Hope, Trust, Piety and Civility. Both recommended cultivating them in order to be more effective.

Hope can seem a bit ‘pie in the sky’ in the face of all the change in the world of education and especially in the current climate of uncertainty in the TL’s world. But I liked the definition Sergiovanni turned to in his fourth chapter– it was termed realistic hope.

… is based on the attempt to understand the concrete conditions of reality, to see one’s own role in it realistically, and to engage in such efforts of thoughtful action as might be expected to bring about the hoped for change (Menninger, Mayman and Pruyser, as cited in Sergiovanni, 2005, p. 78).

I see examples of this every day from Teacher-Librarians through discussions on  the OZTL_Net listserv forum and through the efforts of advocacy groups like The Hub, ALIA and SLAV.  It definitely doesn’t look like ‘pie’; its hard work, like writing to politicians, it’s getting the message out to the media and to busy parents and new parents who don’t yet know the importance of TLs to their children’s futures.  Its true– hope is infectious. These efforts have affected me and I must do my best to create a similar feeling in my school community.

Hope implies action, here’s what I’ve done so far:

  • write a fortnightly piece in the school newsletter – always included is something about educational benefits of the library program
  • feedback to parents when their child takes up a new interest/topic in their reading or gains some new insight through a book. I encourage them to talk to their child about it.
  • started and maintain our school Hotspots site which is a pathfinder for each of the classes’ themes on a blog fully accessible from their homes. I mention the URL frequently in the newsletter and remind the kids to use it at home.
  • organised an author event that included parents – what a success this was in bringing the whole community together over quality children’s literature.

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Picture from: http://www.morguefile.com/archive/?display=21586&

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Fullan, M. (2004). Leading in a culture of change: Personal action guide and workbook. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Sergiovanni, T. (2005). Hope, Trust, Community, Other Virtues. In Strengthening the heartbeat: Leading and learning together in schools (pp. 75-100). San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass.