In my career I’ve worked as a Teacher, a Tech Director, a Principal, and various combinations of those positions. They each have their expectations and requirements, many of them unique to the job.
However, it’s more true than not that the various roles in schools can and should act in similar ways and have similar expectations. It’s the “scalability” of education: as we would hope our classrooms are run and managed, so should we run and manage our departments, our divisions, our schools.
As we expect teachers to behave and interact with students, so should we expect our principals to behave and interact with teachers. If we expect our teachers to differentiate, so should principals. If we expect our teachers to believe that all students can learn, so should principals believe about teachers. If we expect our teachers to treat students with respect and encouragement, so should principals treat teachers.
Play a game of Mad Libs in your school: take statements about teachers and students. Replace “teachers” with “principals” and “students” with “teachers.” Do the statements still hold true?
ICS teachers take the ICS Learner Profile seriously and recognize that it applies to everybody – teachers and staff members – and not just students! This was very recently evident in the response from the Learning 2.014 conference. Teachers from ICS who attended the conference had an intense and exciting learning experience alongside hundreds of other teachers from around the world. Meanwhile, ICS teachers who weren’t attending the conference had a day of PD provided by visiting experts from China, USA and Tanzania.
After that intense learning experience, we felt it was important to reflect on that. Some teachers wrote brief learning reflections in a survey we sent out to all of them. Others wrote longer blog posts reflecting on their experiences. Some wrote notes on Twitter, while others used email, Facebook or other venues to discuss, analyze, and otherwise reflect on their learning experiences.
This week during our scheduled teacher planning and development time, we scheduled an hour for teachers to come together in groups to reflect on their experiences. This was organized in a flexible, ad-hoc schedule which was used in Learning 2.014 as an “unconference.” The idea of an unconference session during a learning conference is to have a time that isn’t devoted to rehearsed presentations, but to allow participants to gather and discuss any item of interest to them. This allows for ideas that arise during a conference to be aired and discussed.
In the ICS “unconference” session this week, teachers got to choose a grouping that was related to one of the big topics addressed in the conference and PD sessions. They also had the opportunity to set up their own, related, topic – and several did! Some groups were big, some were small – all were mixed groups including people who’d attended the conference sessions and teachers who’d attended the ICS PD sessions on Friday. Notes were taken, plans were made and great discussions ensued.
Reflecting on our #learning2 experiences during our PD here @ICSAddis. Valuable reflection time.
We asked teachers to give feedback on the reflection sessions. As would be natural in any such varied experience, there was a wide range of reactions. Some preferred more formal training sessions, others found the discussions stimulating. We’re analyzing the data and collating the notes from each session so that we can address concerns, implement changes, etc.
Meanwhile, here are some of the reactions from ICS teachers on their reflection session:
“It was useful getting to discuss how we might implement ideas at ICS given our school environment, schedule, structure, etc.”“I thought it was helpful… We have lots more to discuss and plan, but it was a start.”“I thought this was a really fun way to share.”“I personally benefited a lot from our discussion and the information I got from the people that attended the Digital Citizenship session was very useful. We also had a chance to brainstorm some ideas and plan extended advisor time activities for middle school.”