Monday, February 17, 2014

My 1st Blog!

Well, many of our elementary students are doing it… teachers are doing it… figured I should too!  And it is a great way to build relationships, connect with other educators, sustain learning, and support the best job in the world… teaching children!  Seems like a great reason to start blogging! 

Throughout my experiences between two different administrative positions and working with well over 100 teachers, I continue to ask each day; how can I make the experience for teachers more positive so that all students will benefit? One way is to encourage and support my staff each and every day, providing them with tools to enhance best practices in the classroom, while building trust and honesty throughout the school culture. The development of relational trust decreases teachers’ stress, while simultaneously creating shared leadership opportunities. This helps to increase educator accountability and develop ownership for one’s own professional growth and student learning. In turn, this will enhance any building’s culture. Teachers have many expectations/responsibilities and it is my job to support and encourage continuous improvement, without making it seem like “it’s one more thing” that they are responsible to manage within their day. Building trust and positively sustaining professional growth, surrounding an every changing landscape in education, is key!

My blog will focus on sustaining professional growth, sharing accolades of amazing teaching that I see each day and providing ideas to support learning.  The goal of this blog is to share my educational philosophy, support educators and learn together.  I plan to focus on the core of what we do every day… Student Learning. 

I will share my thoughts regarding 5 characteristics that are noticed in professional teachers:  

1.            Positive relationships – Professional teachers’ classrooms are built on relationships; knowing students’ level of development, backgrounds, cultures, and interests while supporting students' self-awareness and acceptance of differences. Culture and climate is conducive to student social/emotional/academic learning in positive collaboration with parents, teachers, and other stakeholders.  They create flexible, patient, empathetic, caring, nurturing environments (through character education/classroom management/relationship building strategies) where students enjoy spending their days and can be risk takers within the learning process.

2.            Student Engagement- Professional teachers will maximize instructional time for all learners focused around knowledge of pedagogy, lesson planning and best practice instructional strategies, with the ability to impart knowledge through relevant lessons while integrating technology - supporting 21Centruy Learning.  Educators are consistently empowering students throughout the day, maximizing time cognitively and creatively engaged with students in the learning process.   

3.            Leadership – Professional teachers are positive leaders within their classroom and throughout the school.  They are prepared in all educational settings (IEP, Child Study, Conferences, PLC’s, Staff Meetings, PD, etc.) and can withstand the strains of teaching.  Educating children is their true calling and they enjoy spending their days (positive attendance and attitude when at work) with children and colleagues.   Teachers are learners who reflect on their educational craft and focus on professional growth. 

4.            Can teach them all – Professional teachers have the ability to meet the needs of all students. They collaborate with other building leaders to meet individual student needs while differentiating academic and behavioral instruction for all learners.  Teaching style matches all learning styles and able to support most challenging students. 

5.            Assessment and data analysis drives instruction – Student growth is evident within a professional teachers’ classroom.  Educators have the ability to use formative data to inform teaching during the learning process, reviewing and reflecting on longitudinal data to guide teaching practices over time and from year to year.  I will be posting my assessment philosophy in a future blog! assessment philosophy

My hope is that this blog will support a positive learning environment and energy for others, which I experience each and every day in my building.  I plan to post information related to the 5 characteristics that are noticed in professional teachers.   I know… it seems like a lot, and our job can be overwhelming!  The good news, educators usually have long careers with lots of time for growth.  We should have a strategic plan that changes with the ever-changing landscape of education throughout our careers.  We should be focused on the things that we can control, creating amazing classrooms where students are excited to learn!  Thank you for being great and enjoying the best job in the world… educating children! 

Keith Howell 

Twitter:  @principalhowell

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