Sunday, September 14, 2014

Is it a choice to be “Great” at your school?

Middle School Self-Assessment
on a Learning Target!
Self-Assessment in 3rd grade!
One of the wonderful things about the start of the school year is the many new ideas and concepts teacher are trying in their classrooms.  Many of you spent the summer in professional development or at the very least thinking of ways to make your classrooms more exciting and engaging for your students.  Around our District (not to mention on twitter), I have been encouraged to see many of our teachers speaking a common language about student learning.  You don’t have to go very far into any of our schools to see authentic examples of students using technology, self-assessing their work, and giving each other feedback.  In addition, teachers are introducing the concept of learning targets, setting up rituals and routines, and working with each other to design lessons for their students.  All of these things have us well on our way to a wonderful school year.

CTMS PLC "learning with and through others"
At our Administrator Academy this year, a focus was the importance of developing an effective school rather than just an effective classroom.  Campus leadership teams were challenged to insist upon structures that allowed everyone to improve. The point was obvious, a great teacher can have a huge influence on students, but schools that surround students with many great teachers have a sustaining impact on every student, every day. 

In class "twitter"
So as we move through the first portion of the school year and the ideas are fresh and the possibilities are endless, I can’t help but ask, is being “great” at your school a choice? When new, effective things are rolled out on campus, are they presented as “try this you might like it” or “we need to do this”? Is professional learning and participation optional?  Is expanding your teaching toolkit necessary to keep up? How many out there are going through the motions in PLCs and faculty meetings only to return to their rooms and teach in isolation?  My hope is that the numbers are very low, but truthfully it is sometimes hard to tell the difference between a good teacher and a great one. What I hope we all aspire to, is working in a place where “great” is not a choice…A place where if you are not “great” you stand out as an outlier.  In Jim Collins book, “Good to Great” he talks about how there is no way to “fake it” in effective organizations because the climate won’t stand for it. 

Does this mean that everyone should teach exactly the same? NO!  We are not wired that way.  However, if we are truly striving to be the best and believe that continuous learning is part of that process, then being “great” everyday cannot be a choice.  It must be an expectation for all!

Are we on target? You bet we are!!

1 comment:

  1. That's a GREAT question! How do we know when we have reached greatness? I'm not sure about that, but I do know I aspire to be better each day. Thank goodness I work in a district where I'm challenged each day to strive for excellence. I hope my students feel that way everyday when they leave my classroom. I love that I work with friends, more like family, that look forward to coming to work each day as we all support and push each other further.