After a great article from ASCD on the top 15 things teachers need from their administrators by Ryan Thomas, I was intrigued to create a similar list for administrators’ needs from teachers. In the article, he describes the importance of relationships, rights to privacy, and making spaces for teachers to do what they do best: inspire young learners to become critical learners and owners of their own learning.
I sent out a request to my PLN to see what others thought those needs might be. The response was rapid and full of interesting thoughts on how teachers and administrators might act together to improve student learning.
This sample shows the main themes that came out of the request: try, learn, connect, build those relationships and trust with all those in the learning. These responses also connect well with the concept of Cultures of Learning (if you haven’t yet participated in the #COLChat, I highly recommend you search it out)
So, my top five, in no particular order?
1. A willingness to embrace educational change. Teachers need to be masters of their own learning and understand that educational fads come and go, but change is consistent. Our students are not those of ten years ago nor those ten years from now. We have a duty to connect with those students in front of us, and teach to their strengths, help them where they are weak and develop that love of learning within them. We have them for such a short time of their lives that we must prepare them for their future, not our past.
2. Collaborate with your colleagues. Learning is a community effort. It requires reflection, questioning, and an ability to consciously think about connections between knowledge. This cannot be done on on your own. By bringing trusted colleagues into your professional learning community you greatly increase the collective ‘wisdom in the room’. If you haven’t experienced the power of twitter and the many chats on great educational topics, I highly recommend you check out at least #colchat #sbgchat and, of course, B.C.’s own #bcedchat.
3. Trust. We are all professionals and need to trust the judgements made by both teachers and administrators when it comes to student learning. Trust goes both ways, as administrators need to trust the professional actions teachers make with their students every day.
4. Willingness to engage. We all do not have all the answers all the time. Part of the learning cycle is to ask questions, engage in the community, and discover new ways of doing things. Teachers need to embrace the concept of failure in the classroom as a path to greater learning. Engaging learners means that a certain level of commitment has been set, trust has developed and a collaborative learning cycle has started. (So I seem to be implying that what administrators need from their teachers is similar to what teachers need from their students, and students need from the adults in the school……hmmmm).
5. Have fun! Teaching is the best profession. We get to engage young minds; discover new opportunities; and watch as the next generation discovers what they are capable of achieving. If you are not enjoying the ride, get off. Being part of the creation of new ideas and directions for our society and planet (and beyond) gives me the strength to keep going in tough times, but in all of those times, I am having fun!
It might sound cliched, but I wouldn’t change one day from my time in the classroom for anything. All my students have made my life worth living and added (even if only a tiny bit) enrichment to my life. And for that, I thank them!
Any ideas or thoughts on this are greatly appreciated. Please let me know what you think. Perhaps your top five are completely different from mine and that might change my perspective!