Spike Cook, Jessica Johnson, & Theresa Stager BREAKING OUT OF ISOLATION—Becoming a Connected School Leader
One of the biggest surprises of being a school leader is how isolated you feel on a day-to-day basis. No longer is there a teacher next door you can drop in on for quick or engaging conversations. Your days are long and filled with other important conversations to lead the learning in a forward momentum. If every minute is precious and geared towards supporting the teaching and learning system, how does one “overcome leadership isolation” (p. 3).
The author’s of Breaking Out of Isolation have a solution to this separation a school leader might feel and it starts by getting off the island. They coined the term Gilligan Syndrome after the famous TV show Gilligan’s Island. It is easy to have the mindset of being “stranded”, it takes another mindset to reach out and be connected to like colleagues. These authors provide alternatives to the isolation found in school leadership with specific recommendations to find the tools for survival. Here are a few highly recommended favorites:
· Twitter: “Twitter is the faculty room you always wanted.” Ada, Bellow
o Get away from just posting to connecting and contributing.
· Voxer: “Messaging, Walkie Talkie Apps for Team Communication.”
o Have conversations, and keep them going.
· PLN: Professional Learning Networks
o Start small with about 5 to 10 people, follow them on Twitter, follow their blogs, participate in chats, and respond to their Tweets.
· Read & Listen: Learn & Grow
o Share new thinking with colleagues and move away from groupthink.
Start small and be purposeful. Learning one new pathway of connectedness and build on that new strength to another. Find balance in the process and remember do not be plagued by the Gilligan Syndrome. There is a way off the island and these connected tools will help you build the raft to get off the island and overcome leadership isolation.