Commitment to our students

I believe that most  Educators go into this professional with the belief  that through educating and teaching they can have a positive impact on children.  I chose to believe that initially, hearts and intent are in the right place to support students in being successful and contributing members of society. One of the biggest challenges for educators, often causing them to lose their “ why “ and purpose of becoming an educator,  is not understanding the level of commitment, time, patience, and work that it takes to create and sustain an environment for students that meets the mission, vision and goals of the district. 

There are many commitments that must be honored to carry out our district’s mission , “ Empowering leaders who innovate the now and empower the future “  First and foremost there must be a commitment to use best practices that support and educate ANY and ALL students. Despite student demographics, status, disability,  and instructional level, we must be committed to developing a learning environment that is equitable, inclusive, supportive and accepting. 

There has to be a dedication to being a “ life long – learner” . While we teach, we also need to be teachable as best practices are constantly changing based on our students’ needs. No way should one go into this profession unwilling to change and learn from other experts.  Student needs look different year – to year and if we are not dedicated to learning and practicing and often times changing up our methods, students lose. Commitment to professional growth and development should be a district effort and an expectation for all educators. 

 Research tells us that PLC’s are vital to creating a successful school community.  Educators must make a commitment to collaboration and teamwork. I believe that Educators all over the world have an understanding that only us Educators and truly grasp of the amount of work that it takes to meet the needs of every student.  I am currently the Principal of a building with about 600 students and a total of 47 staff. School improvement and student achievement only happens when we are collaborating, supporting each other for the common goal of student success. In PLC’s you must be committed to analyzing, changing, discussing and focusing on student improvement.  Our team must be able to take collective responsibility for student improvement and the overall success of the building. 

In every school I have worked, there is a teacher contract with daily work hours. Although contractually there are daily hours, there must be a commitment to work beyond contractual work hours. Time, and flexibility are essential to this work.  The amount of planning, grading, designing, analyzing, learning, collaborating etc is not possible unless there is a commitment to the work and having the flexibility to work outside the contractual day. It just cannot all be done correctly and to the level our students needs if there is not a commitment to the time and work that is needed to achieve the mission and goals of our district. 

Our young people are not robots. What works for one, may not work for anyone else. Some researched strategies and practices may not fully meet the needs of some students. There is not a one size fits all.  Along with being a lifelong learner, educators must be committed to simply, “ trying again, and again and again”. I often find myself encouraging staff when they have put their best efforts in creating an environment that research says should work, and the results with students are not favorable. So what do we do when what we researched, learned and tried doesn’t work?  We try again. Easier said than done, but this simple mindset is most important when working with youth. Angela Duckworth calls this mindset “ Grit” .