Saturday, May 23, 2015

8 Questions for the Educator Who Wants to Improve

Do you know someone who is so dynamic, so charismatic, so much of a visionary that whatever that person says gets you excited?  I consider myself fortunate to be able to answer, "Yes!"  There is something about the chancellor of the private school where I work that draws people in, sets a positive tone, and compels me to be my best self.  Each year, our staff begins with a corporate meeting in which the vision for the school is re-cast and we are issued a challenge of sorts.  Well, maybe challenge is too strong...but I would definitely call it a direction or focus word for the year.  This year's word from the chancellor is development.  It has stuck with me since I heard it.  And while I like to think that I am always focused on developing throughout the year, I know that during the summer break, I am much more intentional about growing both personally, as well as, professionally.
So, I thought I would launch a summertime weekend reflection series focused on just that...developing. This natural break in the school year is a great time to reassess what I am doing and why, to figure out what is working and what needs to change to better meet the needs of the families I serve, and to learn (there is always something else that I can learn).  In this focused growth period, details are important, because the details will strengthen future success.  I believe that most educators want to return to work after the summer break better than when they left. But where does one start?
To help figure out which details to focus on and potential areas of growth, there are 8 questions to ask yourself:
1.  Would you classify what you "do" as your job or your calling?
2.  How do you personally measure success?
3. How much do you know about each of your students?
4.  Do you believe fair means treating every student the same?
5.  How many years have you been doing things in exactly the same manner?
6.  Who are your mentors?
7.  What actually distinguishes you from people who do what you do?
8.  Do you have a burning desire to develop strategic thinking concerning the school in which you work...even if it means complete change?
Thoughtfully answering these questions, helps provide a direction for potential areas of intentional growth.  I honestly believe that if you do not like your world, you should change it, but to do so, you must be willing to throw out the old wine skins to embrace the new!

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