Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Growing Educators?

What does it mean to grow an educator?

To me, it means nurturing the educators in your organization for best effect.

A long time ago I went to a workshop where an administrator discussed his system's efforts to "grow teachers."  I found that interesting and kept an eye on articles and information related to that system in years since.  Not surprisingly since then that school system has risen to the ranks of the most respected with regard to test scores and school reform. Though I haven't delved deeper, I assume that the system's investment in "growing teachers" had something to do with their rise in the ranks of "best schools."

How do you grow educators? What efforts are in place to do this with intent and focus? Do those who are assigned to the task have the time and/or experience to do the job well?  Are your efforts based on system-wide goals and vision? What attitudes do you bring to this process?

To grow educators well, you might consider these actions:
  • Know an educator well.  Assign leaders to a team of educators--a number that the leader can truly know well.
  • Understand educators' strengths through conversation, interest and investment.
  • Work with educators to match strengths and challenges with optimal professional development opportunities and system vision.
  • Look for opportunities for growth and leadership with regard to educators, and provide responsive resources, encouragement and skill for this growth.
Growing educators well will prove to significantly strengthen and develop a school system.  Just as we seek to develop students' strengths and meet students' challenges with care, thought and investment, we should make the time to grow and develop all educators too with a focus shift from content and curriculum to those that carry out the learning endeavor.