Leading Through Job Action

At the time of this writing, BC is in its fourth month of a teacher strike in the form of teachers being authorized by the Labour Relations Board to withdraw from 29 elements of their normal contractual responsibilities including free-time supervision, preparation and distribution of report cards, meeting or communicating with administrators unless in relation to emergencies or employment conditions, and doing administrative paperwork (including for field trips), to name a few.  This job action is designed by the teachers’ union to put pressure on administrators at the school and district levels, and it is having its desired effect.  However, and here is where the leadership aspect kicks in, the pressure on system leaders is not translating in a palpable way, at least not yet, to a lessening of the momentum behind system change.  Teachers continue to work collaboratively to bring about modernization of instructional practices, implementation of technology initiatives, broadening of the scope of support services for children with special needs, and more.  And administrators are finding ways to engage with teachers in support of those initiatives even while respecting the legal job action.  And together across the province we are finding ways to engage in a very important and potentially dramatic change effort coming under the heading of our province’s new BC Education Plan (see www.bcedplan.ca). This speaks to a key element of leadership that is often overlooked in our conceptualization of what makes a difference for change, that being RESILIENCE — on the part of our system leaders and on the part of the very teachers who are not allowing solidarity around contract woes get in the way of their desire to effect real and positive change.  How this plays out over the coming months should the provincial parties not come to resolution remains to be seen, but I, for one, am optimistic and I will continue to support the difference-making discourse underway in our district and province. 

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2 responses to “Leading Through Job Action

  1. Maartje, Global Nomad

    I’m very glad to see that you’ve started a blog again. Yay!
    Could you tell me who or what “Murgatroyd” is? You refer to him/them/it on your Twitter account.

  2. Thanks for checking in Global Nomad. My Murgatroyd reference is Stephen Murgatroyd of Athabasca University in Alberta. He was a keynote speaker at the BC School Trustees Academy in December 2011 and brought some great insights to trustees an senior staff who attended. Brilliant. Here is what Wikipedia says: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Murgatroyd. And his blog bio with links: http://www.blogger.com/profile/14407855028282306596

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