As an educator, I have really enjoyed the connections I have made through Twitter. There is so much that I have learned and I have felt that I have grown from being a part of this learning network, more than I did in university. I have connected with so many people that are passionate about the same things I am (leadership, technology integration, assessment, etc.) and it is great to learn from others. In Sir Ken Robinson’s book, “The Element”, he talks about how finding people of a like interest area, helps to inspire your own passion. I have found that group through the informal network of Twitter.
Although I have enjoyed those connections, and love learning from others, I don’t believe that many of us (including myself) celebrate and share the GREAT things that have happened. Education is definitely a progressive field and people need to continuously grow, but there are so many things that are and have been happening in the classroom for years, with many teachers, that we need to talk about more.
Change is something that is scary for many people, but it has almost become second nature to me. I have been in 6 schools in the 10 years that I have been involved in the field of education, and I have had the pleasure of working with many fabulous people. They do incredible things with students, and I have also had the opportunity to see many of these students grow up to be wonderfully responsible and passionate members of society. Why change can be scary for so many, I assume, is that their is a fear of the old adage, “out with the old and in with the new”. Sometimes the “old” is great and we do not need to get rid of it at all. We can adapt and grow, but this does not mean abandoning all former practices.
As an administrator walking into a new building, my number one responsibility, I felt, was to get to know the people I would be working with. I wanted to build strong relationships and trust with my new staff, and it was important that I took the time to learn what was happening in the building. What I realized, and already suspected, was that there were wonderful things going on in this school for a long time. You always wanted a school staff to genuinely care about the kids they work with, and this was in abundance at my school.
Before any changes could happen in the school, I wanted to just sit back, observe, and get a true understanding of what was happening in the building. I work my hardest to share my enthusiasm for my staff with them and the entire school community, so that students and parents know how much I value the amazing things staff are doing with/for kids. I encourage any administrators, that are working with staff to do the same. Change will happen, as it always does in education, but it is so important for us to show how much we value the strengths of our staff so that they trust that they are valued when we have discussions about how we can improve our school community.
I encourage all of you to sit back, take a peak at the amazing things the people you work with are already doing, and have been doing for a long time, and let them know it. This is an imperative practice to building a strong culture in your school community and building trust with the people you work with.