Recognition of teachers and making sure innovation can flourish.


The end of the year

I just read two articles by George Couros, one about a principal who bought individual books for all his teachers and one about knowing what goes on in the classroom.

Both are about relationships obviously. Getting to know your teachers, getting to know what is going on in the classroom.

 Take time to honor that before the break, after the break, and often throughout each school year.  Educators are in the people business, and when we remember that each one of our students AND staff has their own story and experiences, and taking time to connect with them as individuals, it will not only make the work we do stronger, it will be done with a higher purpose. George Couros. 

I can’t say that I buy an individual gift for my staff, but I do try to take the time to remember individual accomplishment to celebrate. It is a good way to challenge yourself, do you know what is going on in your school? The good examples? The aha moments in the classroom?

The point of being in the classroom and spending a lot of time there was that I should never assume that “innovation” was as simple as flipping a switch in our teachers and they would start doing mind-blowing projects.  I needed to see for my own eyes what the barriers were and how we could remove them.  Especially, the obstacles that we as a leadership team were creating. George Couros.

In our school, we go walkthroughs, but I actually think that the best way for me to get to know the classroom and the obstacles we might find when trying to be innovative and creative in class, is the best experience when I teach my class. That is why I have insisted on teaching on class each year. It gives me a pretty clear picture of the interaction between teachers, students, technology and curriculum goals. Today we are working on a project called; Digital citizenship; how can you create value in the world. Right now I am waiting for the result, the students are working on their own. It is a little scary to let go of control. But I have confidence in the students and the project. In a couple of hours, I will have the result. We will share it here.

What stuck out to me is how important it is that we develop “creativity, leadership and teamwork skills, or social, emotional and political intelligence” within our students.  We are held accountable by groups to produce students that can do “well in school,” and I know that is a constraint many schools feel in pursuing those essential qualities in our students.  We have to realize that we are not in an either/or scenario. Having innovative teachers and students as the norm instead of the exception will come down to leaders that think differently and create environments where a culture of innovation can flourish, not become something teachers do in spite of the extra and unnecessary constraints that are placed upon them within their schools. Focusing on individual moments and recognision of staff. 

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