Sunday, January 22, 2017

We All Need Growth #KidsDeserveIt



Something we talk about quite often is growing.  Growing as professionals and personally as well.  Not one of us has reached that pinnacle of knowing everything.  Though sometimes we all like to act (yes, even me) like we do!

As campus leaders part of our job is to work with teachers to help them grow.  We send them to (and bring in) PD, we do walk throughs of their class, sit with some of them one on one, and use the T-TESS process to help us along the way.

We're always pushing you to help teachers grow.  Sometimes it's uncomfortable, sometimes it's fun, and sometimes it's hard and makes them want to cry or walk away. But one of my favorite lines to think about is, "How dare we ask our students to come to school every day and learn, if we're not willing to keep learning ourselves".

But one thing I never want to do, is I never want to ask my team to do something I wouldn't do myself.  That's why I'm passionate about reading to classes, doing morning/lunch/afternoon duty, helping plan lessons, team teaching, modeling lessons, sitting in PLCs, working with our PSP coach, and more.

I know for me that I have a lot of growing to do as well.  I make it a point to do a self inventory every week to remind myself of things I'm working on, ways I'm growing or trying to, and things I need to do to continue my growth.

One of the most dangerous phrases in education is "we've always done it that way".  But I'd like to say another phrase that's dangerous is "what I'm doing is working better than others, why do I need to grow?"

One way that I've tried to share this with my team is through our Swivl Recordings.  We have a Swivl robot and it's amazing. The teacher wears a marker/microphone around their neck and the robot turns and follows the teacher as they move around the room and speak.

Since we finished all our teacher evaluations before Christmas, during January we wanted to continue growing. So we're recording every teacher for 30 minutes in January and the teacher then will watch their recording and submit a written reflection over what they see and how they're addressing the two areas of refinement we identified in December.

Yes, recording yourself, much less watching it, is scary.  I hate hearing my voice, seeing the way I move, etc.  But I know when I did it as a teacher, there were GREAT things I learned.  But since we asked our teachers to do it, my admin team felt we needed to do the same.  So over the last two weeks myself, as well as my admin team, went into classrooms and taught a lesson and recorded ourselves.

Then during our staff meeting this week, the teachers will get to choose which admin lesson they want to watch, and THEY will rate US using our T-TESS (State of Texas) evaluation system.  Then myself, and my admin team, will spend the spring semester working on our areas of refinement based on how the teachers rated us.

Was/Am I terrified to do this? Of course!!  But as campus leaders we must also be growing, learning, and modeling. Plus I view myself as an INSTRUCTIONAL leader.  How can I call myself that if I'm not actively teaching, growing, and bettering THAT craft??

Growth is something we're all doing, or should be doing.  So let's remember to keep pushing, keep trying, and keep growing this week.  It's when we go through something and DON'T use it as a lesson to learn that things become dangerous for us as professionals.

But, when we talk about growth, one thing I think we also have to think about is our growth in learning and understanding different cultures, backgrounds, stereotypes, and more.  I saw the video below earlier this week and couldn't stop the tears from flowing.  How many lies do we believe, not only about our kiddos, but about people in general.  Let's take the time to learn about and truly work to understand and respect everyone.