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Thursday, May 05, 2016

A Positive, Proactive Administration/Teacher Team

As a teacher leader, I want to work towards greater positivity with regard to administrative/teacher teaming.

So often the two groups are adversarial and I wonder why this is true when we share a common goal of teaching children well.

How can both teachers and administrators clearly communicate their needs and then work together to find positive common ground?

I believe that a lot of this begins with positive communication, and as I've noted repeatedly one fact that stands in the way of this communication is that while administrators are making decisions, teachers are unavailable to voice their thoughts or opinions since they are mainly on task with students. This communication divide presents a huge gap when it comes to what's possible. How can we remedy this?

First, I recommend that administrators work ahead of the day-to-day efforts in the classroom. By working ahead, they would create and present plans to educators with plenty of time for teacher input, conversation, and new ideas.

For example, with ESSA on the horizon, administrators would do all they could to learn about ESSA and how it will affect the school community. Then they would send a note out to teachers sooner than later to pose the possible changes and efforts. After that administrators would invite comment, conversation, and discussion in ways that give teachers time on task to weigh in. Teachers' comments would be viewed and discussed by all. It would be a collaborative effort to meet ESSA in ways that matter with regard to quality teaching/learning. This kind of conscientious, orderly collaboration would eliminate stress, repetition, and instead foster strong administration/teacher teams.

Timely efforts and communication matter a lot when it comes to the good work possible in schools. Re-looking at the way systems respond to and create new initiatives, can create better, more collaborative paths of innovation, change, and good work.

Last night as I watched the school committee meeting, I listened to committee members discuss a possible change in the budget process. I liked the questions they asked and the changes they proposed. I also was struck by the question a school committee member asked about assessment related to the popular Einstein quote and related cartoon featured on the right. I want to think more about that thought provoking question. We do use multiple assessments at our grade level, but I'd like to grow this more as the cartoon suggests.

I want to think more about the many ways we can build proactive, positive administration/teacher teams to move our work forward in timely, positive ways.