Remember the #WholeTeacher

Posted by Ken Zimmerman

Thu, Feb 27, 2020

photo-of-woman-teachingAs we continue on our journey in supporting districts to create personalized learning environments for their students, I have been continually reminded about the need to build, support, develop, cherish, and encourage our teachers in the process. In a personalized learning environment, we focus so much on the "learner" and try to make all our decisions based on what is best for learning and the learner in the process. We focus on how can the learner help co-design the lesson, units, progressions, activities, etc. and what form of assessments are best for the learner to demonstrate mastery.

As we continually focus on what is best for learning in our schools, we sometimes forget how important the teacher is in this entire process. As we have laser focus on the students, as school leaders, we need to ensure that we have equal laser focus on our teachers. If we expect our teachers to grow the #wholechild, we then must ensure that we are growing the #wholeteacher at the same time. Leaders need to model personalized learning strategies with their teachers so that they can in return model with their students. If we expect to provide learner agency by providing students with choices of how they learn and how they should demonstrate mastery of their learning, we need to make sure that we are providing choice for our teachers. We need to involve our teachers in the decision making process along the way. Instead of "telling" teachers what "it (personalized learning)" should look like, we need to involve them in helping to co-create the environment by giving them some agency in the process.

Over and over again throughout this year, no matter which conference sessions I attend, or which leadership podcasts I listen to, or what other professional learning I encounter, I am reminded of how important it is that school leaders need to build culture and climate within their schools AND that involves a distributed leadership model ensuring that our teachers are active participants and not bystanders.

This week at #PETEandC, Gerry Brooks (@gerrybrooksprin) was a Keynote who shared the value of building climate and culture within schools. He shared how important it is for teams (teachers and leaders) to work together and that real communication is the key to getting on the same page. Communication is not just sharing a message, but it is being PART of a message. Gerry shared that if we want culture and climate to change in our schools, we cannot just focus on students, but we must focus on building relationships and communicating effectively with the teachers. Teachers need to be involved with the decision making processes because they are the ones who are deeply entrenched in the schedule, behavior, learning strategies, facilitation, teaching, duties, etc. After all, isn't the smartest person in the room, the ROOM?

If we (leaders) expect our teachers to have laser focus on our students to create, develop, build, and support the #wholechild, we (leaders) need to have laser focus on creating, developing, building, and supporting the #wholeteacher.

#wellness #mindfulness #wholeteacher #wholechild #leadership #communication #teambuilding

Topics: IU13PLA, Personalized Learning, WholeTeacher, WholeChild