One word that resonated with me today was behaviors. In Beth’s opening session about supporting innovation and change, she talked about the importance of articulating what behaviors we would like to see in regards to the implementation of a particular initiative. The simple part is understanding that we cannot have change without a change in current behaviors. Of course, the harder work is coming to a consensus on what those new behaviors should be.
My other takeaway from Beth’s time was her discussion on incremental change and how we can support staff by helping them move from no to somewhat or somewhat to yes in regards to implementing behaviors/teaching moves that provide evidence of instructional practices we look for in our observations.
In our File Cabinet Review with Carol, the importance of behaviors was once again highlighted as we looked at the data from 223 teacher evaluations completed by 16 evaluators. Multiple tables mentioned the need for more consistency of language among evaluators. What is the best way to change this behavior? In addition, it was notable that the topic of diversity was only mentioned 11 times in 223 evaluations. We revised the Great 8 last year to include “Respects Differences” in an effort to bring a greater focus to our Strategic Initiative in the area of Cultural Competence. How can we revise our practice as evaluators to support a change in behaviors in this area?
Carol’s quote “You get what you assess for” reinforced the need for us to provide exemplars for staff to help support areas where we would like to see more growth.
The end of the day reinforced my admiration for the educators in Burlington as I witnessed the enthusiasm of the team as they rushed out the door to witness the eclipse. It is great to work with people who get so excited to see something extraordinary! Having educators who model this for our students is a behavior that we can never have enough of!
It doesn’t seem like that long ago when the number of administrators (and educators for that matter) sharing their stories online was scarce. Aside from the excitement of seeing our numbers grow over the last couple of years, I continue to be energized by the potential we have to improve our schools as increasing numbers of educators share what is happening in their classrooms, schools, and communities. Allowing others to see concrete examples of progressive ideas being implemented successfully gives others the confidence that they are not out on a limb by themselves when they consider taking similar risks.
While I am grateful to be part of a community of educators that pushes my thinking daily, there is a group out there that influences me even more, our students. In fact, I’ll tell you that the question on the picture above (Who is doing the teaching?) is really a trick question. The real question that we need to ask ourselves is who is doing the learning? Or better yet, as individuals, we need to consider whether we are continuous learners ourselves.
Personally, I am constantly looking at my own daily routine and thinking about whether or not I am practicing what I preach. Am I spending too much reading, blogging, tweeting, etc? Am I just consuming details about the efforts of others? What am I contributing myself?
The moments that tend to impact me most are opportunities to learn with others (in-person). I feel fortunate to be in a district where there are formal and informal opportunities to learn with and from both students and staff. In looking ahead to 2013, I hope to see the line between teachers and learners continue to blur in our schools. I hope to see more public examples of this to share within and beyond our school community.
Here are a few of my favorites from 2012!
#1 Burlington High School Student Help Desk Website
#2 Marshall Simonds Middle School Students PSA On “The R Word”
#3 Learning Every Day in Burlington – Features a daily post from a learner in our school community.