I've had a lot of time to reflect back on my fourteen years of teaching. At the end of each school year, I ask myself what I could have done differently to help my students be successful. The best way, I have found, is to research experts who have gone before me and have created learning environments where their students have shown growth.
I went onto several different professional blogs and contacted a few professors. After several recommendations, I narrowed it down to a few that I then purchased on Amazon. Since we have been out of school, I've had a lot of time on my hands to read and reflect.
Over the next few weeks, I am going to be sharing a few things that I found to be an "aha" moment if you will. I'm going to warn you; however, that some of these thoughts will really make a few people question a lot about themselves and their efforts in the classroom. Good! Isn't that what we should be looking for?
Author Jim Knight writes about "The Four Pillars of Impact Schools" and I think it's something really important for all of us to look at. We will be taking a look over the next few weeks on what the pillars are, but for now, I wanted to share a few things from the opening of the book.
"Professional learning must embody respect for the professionalism of teachers, by involving teachers as true partners in their professional learning."
Wow! What a statement! Do you agree with what Knight says? I sure do. It is so important for administrators, school boards, and even the superintendent to see teachers as professionals. Knight believes that all professional development has an impact on teaching excellence, which in turn, impacts our students. If teachers are given the opportunity to attend professional development that inspires them, their students will also be inspired. Isn't that what we all want? So why is it that year-after-year teachers attend several trainings just to leave feeling even more overwhelmed than before?
"Professional learning should provide a clear focus for sustained growth, and teachers should be collaborators in writing their school improvement plan to ensure that everyone (a) understands, (b) agrees with, and (c) is committed to the improvement plan."
Have you ever taught at a school that required an improvement plan? I have. It's not very fun. But, if teachers are included in writing this plan, the professional environment shifts to something more positive. Teachers will agree to help out their schools a lot more if they feel that their professional opinion matters.
Until school districts start treating teachers as the professionals they are, we won't be seeing the change we desperately need.
Do you agree with Knight? Comment below with your thoughts on today's post!
Laura Gokey is the owner of The Learning Tree and is working towards her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from Regent University. She currently lives in Livingston, TX with her husband of fourteen years and her two children.