I have been engaged recently in numerous conversations regarding teacher effectiveness, motivation, peer mentoring, and pride in student achievement. As many professional educators I can come up with a variety of strategies to employ with the ultimate goal of improving and building upon these areas. This is not the point of my post however.
Shortly after one lengthy discussion on the above topics took place I was fortunate enough to have a conversation with one of my teachers where he presented the single most important influential factor necessary for change in those listed areas. Our brief conversation in the hallway centered on how proud I was to witness his growth this year as an educator. This teacher is one of New Milford High School’s best and has been for many years. He expects a great deal from all of his students and they deliver (I wish I had him as a teacher in high school).
This year saw him gradually move away from his comfort zone and begin to embrace the vision that has been set forth and modeled by my Administrative team. He is still a fantastic teacher, but he has begun to integrate technology in subtle ways using Google Sites to spark student discussion, reflection, and inquiry outside of the classroom. I was so impressed by his growth that I asked him to present to the staff why he decided to embark on this journey as I figured it would leave a more lasting impact coming from a direct peer. He humbly replied that it doesn’t matter what he or anyone else for that matter says and that each individual must genuinely want to change from within. A point that we all must remember and do our best to foster in our schools.