Teaching Opinion

From #Attentive to #Commitment, This Year’s #OneWord

By Starr Sackstein — September 13, 2018 2 min read
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Eye contact. Non-verbal assent and facial gestures. Questions. Lots of clarifying quesitons.

Year one was all about active listening, but not just hearing. With each conversation I had, I made it a point to invest a little more in each member of our team and the overall goals we sought to accomplish together.

Year two will be about committing to the actions that need to be taken after listening for a year. Not just the actions I need to take but supporting members of the team as they begin shifting to action as well.

There is something to be said for laying the groundwork as it that foundation that all else will be built on. Relationship building and listening attentively will always be on my agenda because of that, but this year as we engage in meaningful dialogue, commitment to action plans will be our future.

Starting with goal meetings, teachers and I will share ideas about what we need to do this year. I’ve been asking the team how I can best support them and help them achieve the goals they have.

Additionally, with the new members of our team who exist, it is really important to make them feel comfortable and ready to do the challenging and important work they will be doing. And I have to admit that I like them hanging out in the Humanities office for lunch.

I have said in the past that one of the hardest parts of being a new leader is how lonely it is (and that is not an exaggeration of any kind), so feeling like I’m a part of a group again where people hang out and don’t flee upon my arrival is really good for my soul.

To that end, I am also committed to getting into classrooms every day, or planning with teachers or co-teaching to help them do the important work our students need. Our team should feel comfortable with me in their spaces and I’m completely invested in the success of the team and its individual members.

Working on this new journey, with the same enthusiasm I always had in the classroom has reinvigorated me. Here’s to another year of learning, with a commitment to action.

This year, I commit to:

  • Continue to engage in meaningful dialogue with my colleagues and members of our team
  • Ask questions
  • Challenge practices that aren’t working well for our students
  • Get into classrooms every day
  • Work with teachers by supporting them in whatever ways they need
  • Be transparent and available
  • Be a friendly, warm face my school communities see every day
  • Build relationships to develop more trust
  • Model positive risk-taking behavior
  • Stay curious about the world around me and share my curiosity
  • Assume the positive
  • Be what I expect

What will your #oneword be this year? Please share

The opinions expressed in Work in Progress are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.