Friday, December 12, 2014

And Then it Happened

We have all had "that" teacher.

You know, the one that made the difference in our lives to direct us to be educators ourselves. The very teacher that when asked twenty years later, "Why did you get into the field of education?" We answer without hesitation, "because of: insert name here". It is the teacher that we each remember without a moments pause who made a difference in our lives as learners.

This is a story of a teacher that had spent more hours staying fixed to his traditional methods of teaching than most of us spend time investing in what we should plan next. He fought change. He stayed true to his pedagogy. He was convinced that "this too shall pass".

And then it happened. I was witness to something awesome. "That teacher" was discovered.

He had been listening. He had been doing his homework. He was quietly engaging in conversation with his colleagues, reading the emails and books that had been passed his way and had opened his mind to the possibility that he could be both the teacher he was most comfortable with AND also be "that teacher".

It didn't happen overnight. It took hours of discovery and patience. There were gentle nudges from those around him and modeling of what could occur.

As you lead, remember that the results you may be seeking may not be instantaneous. As teachers of students or a leader of teachers, we can become better at what we do by following the same simple steps as this teacher did.

Dive into conversations with each other, stay current in the world of instruction and observe what others are doing around us. We will get better at our craft. Like a flower needs the sun, the soil and water to grow, we too need that same nurturing and care.

In the end, students will continue to request to be in his course. However, now more than ever his lessons will be directly tied to best practice, student engagement, offer personalized learning opportunities and infuse choice and voice into the daily interactions and instruction. Teaching and learning will be more authentic and that much more rich with meaning. Students will learn in an environment that is best for their academic path. He has become that teacher.