Happy Friday, and welcome to the Teacher Experience!
The teacher experience is so important because as we learned in the previous four days of the Transformative Leadership Summit, teachers are an integral part in the culture of your school and what they can do for kids.
My teacher experience may mirror your teacher experience in some ways. I have heard this story from about 50% of the educators that I have talked to. Here it is:
My principal hired me, and didn’t know any answers to questions about pay, salary schedule placement, or anything related to the contract. She took me to my room, and said, “Here is your room, there are your books. Have a great year. [See you when your evaluation is due.]” She didn’t say that last part, but that’s pretty much what happened! You’ve been there, or at the very least worked with someone who had been there, right? Oh, yeah, your mentor is in that classroom, and she can answer all your questions. Don’t get me wrong, she was a great principal. It was her first year, and I like to think I didn’t need much guidance because, frankly, I didn’t want it. I got everything that I needed, even if I had to settle for less than I wanted. I started blogging with kids, before Blogger was even invented, let alone Wordpress.
The next year, I was transferred to another school, because…budget. Amiright?
It was like a different world.
He set the vision. Our interview consisted of “Jethro, we do teaming, we do PLCs, and we have a meeting after school every Monday, for an hour. And we do RTI. Can you commit to doing these things?” I didn’t know what teaming was, what PLCs were, how to do RTI, or anything like that. What I did know is that I wanted a job for my family so I agreed!
My principal still didn’t give me a lot of face time, but what he did do is give me permission. He pretty much said make sure good things happen for kids, and actually make sure that kids learn what they are supposed to learn.
This school set the stage for my career going forward. I saw what happens when teachers are given authority to make decisions, are held accountable to standards, and pushed. Pushed Hard. I worked my tail off for that principal and for those kids. I was given a vision of what our school was, and I was left to make decisions about how that worked. I screwed up a few times, but it was never held against me. We made some amazing gains at that school, bonded well as a team, and grew together. Did I mention I had 217 that I saw every day in 6 periods? That’s an average of 36 kids in each class. It was amazing. I miss it dearly.
What leaders do to set up the teacher experience really matters. What teachers do with their experience really matters.
Over the next two days, I hope you can find ways to improve the teacher experience. And, if you want to share these videos with a teacher you work with, please share it before they go down Saturday night.
Six amazing leaders are on the docket today! It’s going to be packed!
First up Justin Baeder talks about how important it is for a principal to be in classrooms every day. So make it happen. Get into 500 classrooms this year. And it is not about adding data to the evaluation!
Next, David Smith give three keys to making your observations successful.
Cindy Couchman takes a break from the evaluation process to talk about leading without a title.
Bill Ziegler recently released a book called Future Focused Leaders, which is a great read, and he talks about how to be a future focused leader for the benefit of your teachers.
Joe Sanfelippo is going to make you all jealous. His Teacher evaluation system is Amazing!
Tom Braddock is going to talk about how to create an ascending spiral of energy.
These will be great interviews to share with your staff, so please take a minute to grab the All Access Pass.