Why are we trying to get them bought in? Do they really need buy in? Do they really need to be convinced that engaging and empowering students is important? Do they really need to be told to try and motivate and connect with students? Is asking those questions actually degrading to the profession and practice?
Education is an addiction, somewhat like some of the vices that many seek help to solve. Why question or challenge this addiction? Why question a teacher's motives to want to create that perfect lesson?
I taught 5th grade, and I know what it was like to have that perfect lesson, where all the student seemed engaged, empowered, and excited while having fun. The work was hard. It did not happen everyday, but when it did it was magical. I tried to make lessons rigorous, still standards based, where the products were student created and chosen by them (students).
How do we as leaders foster this, and promote this?
I have asked a lot of questions so far... Let me give you some answers.
- Create a culture where risk taking is the norm.
- Create a culture where you are embedded in planning and can give real time feedback when possible
- Create a culture where teachers want to come to you with their ideas to flush them out and make them better through collaboration.
- Coach them constantly with specific feedback that address the real needs that they are seeking.
- Push them to make the lessons relevant and where pace and path for students are recognized and explicitly planned for.
- Quite simple, be there for them, the teachers, to learn WITH them and try to experience the experiences WITH them as much as possible.
I don't make many promises, but I promise this will move mindset and school culture more than anything else you do!