Blog for Leaders Facing Challenges

 The Teacher is Key by Shirley Stiles

Stiles

A few years ago I attended a conference on Peace. One of the speakers worked at the UN and was not an educator. He told us how he envied educators because, “We are the only ones who in our professional lives on a daily basis have the privilege of “teaching the future”. That really says it all for me, that’s quite a responsibility and a real privilege.

The Teacher is the Key to student learning and success. I would like to clarify that when I say “teacher” I mean it in the broadest sense – every adult in the school building is a teacher – they all teach – through modelling behaviour – they represent society to students: custodians, support staff, administrators, and teachers.We model society’s expectations of education, of learning, and attitudes to students.

The ways you interact with students, the ways you interact with each other, the ways you model for students, and the ways you teach in your classrooms – that’s what creates the school climate. These are very tough challenges that happen every day of the school year.

Teachers are such key role models – next to student peers and parents, you are key! It is so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day issues. Instead, ask yourself: 

  • How many students did I interact with this week to congratulate them on their good attendance, academic achievements, athletic achievements, citizenship?
  • How many students did I have in for a brief one-on-one?
  • How many students have I interacted with this week that I haven’t interacted with before?
  • How many students have I talked to regarding their concerns?

A few years ago I attended a conference on Peace. One of the speakers worked at the UN and was not an educator. He told us how he envied educators because, “We are the only ones who in our professional lives on a daily basis have the privilege of “teaching the future”. That really says it all for me, that’s quite a responsibility and a real privilege.

Although classrooms are currently closed, students are still needing to learn. Your responsibility has not disappeared but the challenges for you as a teacher have taken a quantum leap. Take the challenge, be innovative, and remember that all of those expectations of you as a teacher are still there in each of your students. 

Keep teaching! The Teacher IS the Key!

Full article available at  https://sstilesconsulting.wordpress.com

 

Distance Learning: An Opportunity to Strengthen Our Collaboration!  by Marc Johnson

marc

These are times unlike any we have faced in our careers, but they also are quite possibly the most profound leadership growth opportunity we have ever been provided, as well. Teacher leadership within grade level and subject matter teams during this time is essential. Effective and focused team collaboration is needed to generate the learning opportunities for our students and support them through difficult changes.  Now is the time to deepen our collaborative culture, not abandon it!

Have we reminded ourselves what real collaboration is, and do we see this as an opportunity to grow? Collaboration is not a meeting; it is a process, and if we embrace that concept, we then understand that powerful collaboration can occur even in a time of shelter in place and social distancing.

Teams may have members who struggle with technology and we are behind the curve in our professional development here; how do we overcome that deficit quickly? Use the team to build the team! A team is a group of people working together interdependently to achieve a common goal for which they are mutually accountable!  Building on that concept of team to address the gaps that some staff have in utilizing technology effectively,

How do we assure that we are focused on LEARNING in the time we have left this year, and not just keeping kids busy at home? The first big idea of a Professional Learning Community is an absolute, relentless commitment to learning!  It is essential that we make sure our teams are developing a collective commitment to supporting the learning of their students and keeping their collaboration anchored in and driven by that commitment!  We also need to be careful that we are not overloading our kids and overwhelming our parents during this time as well.  Finally, we have to define the learning that must happen between now and the end of the year to lay the foundation for next year!

Are we taking advantage of the opportunity to actually develop a stronger culture of collaboration and a commitment to learning? This time will impact our culture, either with us or without us.  We can “cultivate” a stronger collaborative culture or we can simply let things evolve and hope we can pick up the pieces when things get back to “normal”!  Living in an agricultural region, we understand cultivation is an ongoing process, not a “one and done” event!  If you have ever grown a garden, you know that if you go on vacation for two weeks, there will be weeds in the garden.  If we don’t “cultivate” a stronger collaborative culture during this time, we will have weeds in our garden, so how are we “tending our garden”?

I have heard of some systems where there has been pushback and resistance to action because not all kids had access to the learning.  Equity is not something that is achieved by waiting for it; equity is achieved and becomes our reality through action!  We have to see this as a journey of improvement and realize that on a journey of improvement, there is no place on the pathway called “good enough”.  Use each day as a building block for a better tomorrow!

Every child, every day, whatever it takes!

On behalf of the kids you serve, thank you for your passion and persistence!  Lead with courage and with heart!  Tend the garden!

 Full article available at https://www.solutiontree.com/blog/