Although I work at the high school level and at a much larger school, the ideas each of these elementary school principals shared resonated with me.
I loved Amber’s idea of everyone moving forward no matter what the pace. Her clear expectations and goals help everyone at her school improve. The discussions about how learning is never over and that we can always work to improve is something I believe in and try to practice. I sometimes have teachers ask me why I am redoing or “tweaking” a process, activity, etc. when it already works well. My answer: life is constantly changing, and I want to make sure I am always trying to do my best.
I also loved the discussion about being a “school teacher” vs a “classroom teacher.” As our school’s tech coach, I am a “school teacher” by default – I am responsible for and interact with all students. But I want ALL of our teachers to be “school teachers.”
What “school teachers” refers to is the idea (and practice) that ALL teachers need to care about what happens in ALL classrooms with ALL children. That doesn’t mean that everyone will know every minute of what goes on in another class – that’s unrealistic. But it is also naive to think that what goes on in one class does not impact what happens in another.
We need to work to learn about others and build on each other’s work. At our school, for example, students take 8 classes. That’s a lot of different teachers, physical classrooms, rules, content, procedures, standards, assessments, etc. Our students and our school as a whole can only benefit from us knowing more about what happens the other 7 blocks our students spend in other classes.
So – let’s share what we’re doing – in conversation, on social media, etc. Ask questions of each other. We are a community of learners – “You can’t do it alone.”