Saturday, December 17, 2016

Advocacy Matters in Education

As I learn to advocate for topnotch education organizations, I am reminded of the following points:
  • Teamwork is critical. When administrators and educators are open to teaming in transparent, inclusive, and focused ways, we can do tremendous work. When all members of the team are considered with respect and acknowledgement, our efforts to teach children well benefit substantially. (Too often decisions are made without the voice and choice of stakeholders)
  • Transparency is Essential. Secrets and backdoor deals do nothing to promote the dynamic teaching/learning efforts possible. In almost all cases, transparency leads to strong teaching/learning teams. (Some still believe that good leading and learning requires secrecy and no transparency. Some think that stakeholders can't be apart of the big think and decisions required to teach and learn well. I believe that good teaching and learning benefit from greater transparency and openness with regard to all stakeholders)
  • Responsible Risk, Respect, and Commitment Matter. Good programming requires responsible risk at times. These programs profit from respectful effort and visible commitment. (It's not easy, but administrators and educators have to put their ideas, thoughts, and experiences out there to model and lead learners and others with regard to teaching well. When administrators and educators are silent, stakeholders don't know what they believe in, how they are doing their work, or what matters--it's not good enough to stay silent, it's important to be good communicators)
  • Actions Matter: While it's essential to be a good communicator as teacher and administrator, it's also important that your actions reflect your effort, philosophy, and commitment. A teacher or administrator who writes well, but then doesn't follow through with regard to what he/she says, does not earn much respect. What we do and how we do it matters. (We can all look around us and see those educators and administrators who "walk the walk" of respectful, kind, dedicated, and professional action--these educators and administrators are the true leaders in our midst).
Advocacy for betterment calls us to be our best selves and professionals. This is a challenging call as there's always room to better our craft and commitment. Despite the challenge, however, it's a worthy call, and a call that all educators need to heed in order to do our jobs well since a large part of our job involves advocacy with regard to what will help children succeed.