Working with giants.

Here’s the flow of a recent communication in our district. A proud principal shared part of an email from a teacher to her brand new assistant principal with me. One of the cool things they do on her staff is pass around the Jar of Wonder. The Jar of Wonder is kicked off at the first staff retreat, with someone writing something awesome about another staff member. Then that staff member chooses another staff member and writes something awesome about him/her…and so on. And it ends up as a Jar of Wonder.

Well the brand new assistant principal wrote a beautiful note about one of our gifted, veteran teachers. The teacher in turn wrote the new AP an email where she described the impact of his note, how touched she was by his words, and that it ranks up near the top of interactions over a 20 year career.

The final line from this amazing teacher’s email, to our new assistant principal, talking about how relationships matter in our district, just about killed me in its simple, powerful truth.

This is a great place to make a difference.

I don’t know why I can’t get that single line out of my head. My tenure in our district is now 36 years. I love this place. I love our teachers, administrators, parents, community, and kids. I’ve known what a special place this was from day one. But didn’t have the simple phrase to describe it.

Now I do.

This is a great place to make a difference.

Do you have a knowing stance or a learning stance?

Been awhile since I have written in the old blog! Back in business now. And what a great way to be back. I have three books on deck by some of my favorite authors! Here’s the first.

Collective Teacher Efficacy refers to,” educators’ shared beliefs that through their combined efforts they can positively influence student outcomes, including those of students who are disengaged, unmotivated, and/or disadvantaged.” (Donohoo, 2017)

Two years ago, we hosted Jenni Donohoo in our district. She talked to us about the stunning research behind Collective Teacher Efficacy. John Hattie’s research routinely has CTE as the THE number one thing educators can do to improve the learning for kids. Something has an effect on learning if it has a score above .40 according to Hattie’s work, CTE has a score of 1.39.

Hattie’s research says CTE has proven to be more than three times more predictive of student achievement than SES. More than double the effect of prior achievement, and more than triple the effect of home environment and parental involvement.

Through my reading of this excellent book, I have come to understand that I had a ‘knowing stance’. A quote from a teacher in the book sounds a lot like me. ” I know everything I need to know in order to teach my students.” Ouch. And yikes.

A knowing stance is contrasted by a ‘learning stance’. Teachers continuing to learn. “Teachers’ professional learning is integral to school improvement because teacher learning influences classroom practice, an important predictor or student learning and achievement.”

One of the things that happens when one gets older is one realizes how much one actually doesn’t know. I’ll raise my hand here. I seem to know less and less each day. And want to learn more and more each day.

That’s a good thing. A learning stance. Check.