Self Review: The Guilt Post

I know…, you know …, we all known, that self-review is essential for good practice.  True self-review should be the combination of both formal and informal review tools.  These tools may include personal reflections, professional conversations, mentoring, professional appraisal, journals and learning circles.  Personally I enjoy engaging in self-review through reflecting and sharing my practice in a professional blog. My blog is where I engage in my own professional form of ‘just-in-time’ learning; it is here where my self-review with make an immediate impact on my practice. What I am having trouble with at the moment is wondering whether it is appropriate for me to engage in this medium during school time.

The Background:  I am the Principal of a Sole Charge Rural School.  This means that for 0.7 (three and a half days) of my week I am a normal classroom teacher, well as normal as you can get with eleven students, (grin) and for the other 0.3 (one and a half days) I am in the office doing management and leadership tasks.  I do not do any planning or classroom prep. during my 0.3 release, this is all done after the kids have left for the day or in the weekends (like any normal teacher).

The Requirements: As a part of my involvement with the First Time Principals Programme, and as specified in my job description, I am required to engage in self-review.  In fact, I have been advised by my mentor and my appraiser to keep a professional journal.  I would like to use this blog as my professional journal; I can easily keep any sensitive posts private or password protect them (save the trees!)

The Question: Is it appropriate for me to set aside time from my 0.3 release to reflect in my professional journal (this blog)?  Or should I be engaging in this reflection outside of school time, in my own time?

The Guilt: The reality is that I just haven’t done it at home because I am just so tired when I finally get there.  I would like to do it during my release time but I don’t know if this is ok?  Can I justify this as a good use of leadership and management time? Shouldn’t I be using my time for the benefit of the students learning?  But what about me, should I also be making sure that I am the best possible leader I can be? (and not burn out with the effort).

The Ideal: What I really want is to know that it’s ok for me to add regular self-review entries to this blog, which is all about my experiences as a 21st Century Learner and Educator, during my release time and not allow my professional life to invade my personal one.  I want to stop feeling guilty.

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A New Zealand Principal, living in Taneatua. Where's that you say? Just Google IT!

7 thoughts on “Self Review: The Guilt Post”

  1. I believe totally that you shouldn’t turn yourself inside to be everything to everybody.

    Google- the organisation gives one day a week to their developers to go with their own project- follow their passion- play.

    Some of the best Google applications have come from this ‘playtime’. It happens in work time- not hometime.

    By letting your thoughts flow you clarify them for yourself- that clarity can be very powerful especially of you share your journey with you on line peers who can’t be with you day by day but still are interested and can help you reflect and share and learn.

    Thanks for sharing today


  2. Thanks Allanah. Being here by myself is the hardest part of being a Sole Charge Principal. Having a PLN to share with really makes a huge difference. Thank you for your comment.

  3. Hi Marama
    Stumbled onto your blog via others that I read. Great stuff here and this post in particular highlights an issue all principals face.
    Reflection/ wonderings/ thinking time is an absolutely crucial part of leadership. I also feel the guilt when I spend time in this mode during time out of class, and have nothing tangible to show at the end of it. However it is up to us (regardless of school size) to dream up the vision and the “how-tos” for our schools. That can’t be done without time to reflect and make wise choices. It’s never easy in the midst of a busy working life to take this time without feeling guilty but it is a must. I wonder what kind of leaders we would be without the ability and time to dream big? Mere technicians? Guilt may be just one of those self-imposed boundaries we have to push through as we know the cost of not doing so will neuter our ability to do the best for those in our care.
    Thanks for raising this topic, will link it to my blog. Kia Kaha!

  4. Sole charge principals have so much to do and you seem to get so much done. Go easy on yourself.

    If reflection can make so much difference to the learning in children then it probably is worth doing even as older learners.

    Maybe the preparatory stages can happen while doing other activity (exercising or chores) with quality time then required only for the writing.


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