Every organization creates goals and strategic steps to move them towards achieving their goals. What is rare are the organizations that repeatedly go through this process and are successful every year. The successful organizations have something that the others do not have. They have a culture of performance and success.
As we set up learning in our classrooms, we often plan for it to happen in a nice and clean experience for our students. I’m reminded that learning is messy. Today, I observed students participate in some amazing learning experiences and the learning didn’t come easily to these students. I am encouraged by the perseverance of these students and how they have embraced the fact that learning is messy.
Every student deserves access to curriculum and instruction that is consistent and effective. I often ask teachers on my campus to reflect on their implementation of effective instructional practices. Doing so requires a certain level of vulnerability and discomfort but is essential to ensuring that all students learn. Asking teachers to be vulnerable and take risks requires administrators to take an approach of learning to power with as opposed to power over (Johnson, Leibotwitz, & Perret, 2017).
As a result of this coaching approach, my school’s leadership has identified what we call the 3 Essentials for High-Quality Teaching to Ensure Learning. We have committed to focus on these essentials for high-quality teaching to accomplish our goal of evaluating the efficacy of our teaching practices throughout the year. During the year coaches frequently ask their players to focus on the process and details in order to ensure success. We are asking our teachers to focus on these three essentials for high-quality teaching to ensure learning as part of our process. When effective teaching practices are implemented in a systematic fashion that allows space and flexibility for the art of teaching, students experience education in a way that inspires them to become lifelong learners.
Eighteen walkthroughs in a week. The hard part was providing meaningful feedback. I set a goal this week to get eighteen walkthroughs in and provide teachers with meaningful feedback on their instructional practice. I knew that this was an audacious goal, but I knew that I would be a better leader even I didn’t achieve it. I’ve always believed that striving for greatness makes us all better so, I took a chance and aimed high.
I failed miserably at my goal this week. I was able to accomplish the walkthroughs but my feedback left more to be desired. Mid-way through the week, I recalibrated my goal of providing meaningful feedback because I discovered that I didn’t have a system to provide it to teachers. So, I took myself through the process of design thinking. I created a Google Form that incorporated the instructional focus of our campus for the year but the key component of the form was the comments section. By the end of the week, I was able to narrow down the process of how I will give meaningful feedback to teachers for the remainder of the year. A vital part of the process was to seek critique from a few teachers who would really challenge my way of thinking.