Thursday, October 27, 2016

Teaching Well: Next Chapters

We put the closing touches on ECET2-MA2016. I learned a lot and what I enjoyed most was working and learning with so many open minded, dedicated educators. I also continue to focus on the ECET2 ingredients, ingredients I want to promote at my school and in my own work:
  • Nurture Trust Among Teachers: How can we help build trust in our schools. For starters I will continue to advocate for greater transparency, information share, inclusion, and distributive leadership models. 
  • Focus on Each Teacher's Potential for Growth: This ingredient is tied to the need for schools to foster worthy, differentiated professional learning. The word "each" is essential here because too many educational organizations still promote "one size fits all" professional learning and expectations.
  • Inspire both the Intellect and the Passion that Drives Teachers in Their Work: Too often teachers' passion and intellect is disregarded in schools, and seldom do schools truly empower teachers to be the leaders that they need to be in order to teach well and model well for their students. I hope that agencies outside of school systems will continue to drive this ingredient with regard to support, policy, and expectation.
  • Provide Time for Collaboration and Learning: When teachers do not have time to collaborate and learn, they are unable to develop their craft and service in meaningful ways. It is essential for schools to re-look at roles, structure, and routines in order to build in time for greater collaboration and learning. In addition to time, collaboration and learning has to be respected, supported, and carried out by all in the learning community for best result.
  • Put Teachers in the Lead: Too often in schools, the educators who are teaching every day do not have the leadership opportunities to effect the work they do. This is a mismatch that dilutes the great teaching and learning possible. Teachers need to come together to seek the leadership they need to do the good work they're able to do.
  • Recognize Teachers as Talented Professionals: Again the role of teacher is often belittled. I often refer to a remark I heard repeated, a remark an adminstrator said which essentially stated that elementary teachers don't have to know much to do their job. This remark came from a leader of curriculum and teaching. Sadly, I don't think this comment is uncommon, and I do think comments like this lie at center of the struggles many educators face when it comes to being the professionals they want and deserve to be.
In the days ahead, I'll continue to look back on these ECET2 ingredients and our ECET2-MA2016 event for leadership and inspiration. I will weave the language above into my advocacy and work with children. Essentially as good teachers we can use the same language to empower our students:
  • Nurture Trust Amongst Students
  • Focus on Each Student's Potential for Growth
  • Inspire both the Intellect and the Passion that Drives Students in their Learning
  • Provide Students with Time for Collaboration and Learning
  • Put Students in the Lead
  • Recognize Students as the Talented Individuals that They Are
Respect is a circular notion. When educators feel respected, they act respectful towards students and visa versa. 

In the days ahead, I'll be focusing in on my wonderful fifth grade students and terrific grade-level team with these words in mind. Onward.