Saturday, April 23, 2016

Growing Educators

“One reason, so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.”

— Anthony Robbins

I spend a great deal of my work week talking about growing readers, writers, and researchers. Today, I want to talk about growing educators. Reflecting on my growth over the last ten years, I see a change in my belief system. The educator that I was and the educator I am now are almost like two different people. Something happened along the way that changed ME.

I realized that the only person who could change in my school culture was me. I had been waiting on others around me to "show me the way"! I began asking questions rather than blaming others. I wanted to know more about what children needed to become successful. I was determined to find answers and grow. I took ownership of my professional development. I realized that professional development should be a career-long endeavor, not just a once-a-year offering by my district.

I guess you could say that I moved from a "fixed mindset" to a "growth mindset." Mindset is a simple idea discovered by Stanford University psychologist, Carol Dweck. Teacher agency is another term I like!

"Teacher agency is typically viewed as a quality within educators, a matter of personal capacity to act (Priestly et al., 2012) usually in response to stimuli within their pedagogical environment. It describes an educator who has both the ability and opportunity to act upon a set of circumstances that presents itself within that individual’s leadership, curricular or instructional roles. The educator described would then draw from acquired knowledge and experience to intercede appropriately and effectively. Agency is increasingly rare in the educational world of prescriptive improvement, and the term is too “often utilized as a slogan to support school-based reform” (Priestley, Biesta & Robinson, 2012, p. 3). " Teacher Agency in America and Finland By Roger Wilson, GVSU Faculty

Notice it states that it is a rare quality. I know for a fact that it is very rare. So many educators are waiting for someone else to get busy fixing, finding, doing or creating things that will change school culture and student learning. While we are all waiting for someone else, nothing changes,

I became tired of waiting and developed a sense of urgency that is with me to this day. We have so little time to grow our learners! We must make each day count. I can't say that my change made everyone happy or that I was appreciated. It took courage and perseverance. It still takes courage today to step out and say what needs to be said. I spend a lot of time thinking about children and not about adults. What is best for children in the classroom?  How can I keep them engaged throughout the day? What will inspire them to be lifelong learners? The questions never stop!

The more time I devote to professional development and learning; the more passionate I become! It is a worthwhile and exciting journey. I want to leave a legacy of promoting change in education that greatly impacts children. I encourage you to journey with me! Together, we can make a difference.

1 comment:

  1. Your words mirror my own. I've thought for a long time now that I'm in charge of my own professional development. It's not my district's, school's, or principal's job to provide me with knowledge. I have to go after it. Your thoughts also reminded me of a quote I recently saw on Twitter. I think you'll enjoy it too: Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters. I see that bravery in you. Keep speaking up!