This Week’s Leadership is courtesy of Ms. Furst

Just before Winter Break, I had the opportunity to see some of our Eagles participate in the OM Spirit (Student Problem Identification Resolution of Issues Together) Launch. The group nominated to participate represents a diverse group of our student population. Those participants voiced similar concerns about the relationships that exist between students and their teachers. Many students felt that they could not relate to their teachers. Their comments made it sound as if their teachers were completely one-dimensional, a not so unusual thought coming from a teenage mind!

But, this got me thinking. How do we better relate to our students and let them know that in fact we are people, dynamic characters with many “sides” just like the characters that we are reading about in literature. Just as we look at a novel’s theme in literature, so too should our students consider the messages that their teachers can share. To do this, we must reflect on our current teaching persona, ask ourselves some difficult questions, and perhaps make some tweaks. In 2017, are we learning, adapting, and trying out the new roles that our classrooms may require?

George Couros recently published an article titled “10 Essential Characteristics of a 21st Century Educator.” Without reading the descriptions, I immediately thought “Building relationships is my best strength.” But, after careful reflection of my own classroom and practice, I could name a handful of students who likely would not say that about me. Maybe they see me only as a learner, or a leader, or a storyteller and perhaps they really need a teacher with whom they have that safe relationship. Why can’t I be her?

George Couros recently published an article titled “10 Essential Characteristics of a 21st Century Educator.” Without reading the descriptions, I immediately thought “Building relationships is my best strength.” But, after careful reflection of my own classroom and practice, I could name a handful of students who likely would not say that about me. Maybe they see me only as a learner, or a leader, or a storyteller and perhaps they really need a teacher with whom they have that safe relationship. Why can’t I be her?

21st-century-educator

We all exhibit many of these characteristics in some fashion, but do our students see enough of these characteristics in each of us to ensure that we are the dynamic characters who burst right off the pages of their book titled High School Days and teach them the themes, or messages, that they really need to learn.

As you enter second semester, consider the characteristics that are readily available and those that you may need to add to your repertoire.

  • Relationship Builder—Do our students know us or simply know our content? Do they know that we value them?
  • Learner—The world, and our classrooms, look vastly different from five years ago. Are we learning and implementing in order to stay ahead of that curve?
  • Inclusive—Do we utilize the strengths and background knowledge of the various students within our rooms? Do all feel of equal value?
  • Reflective—We ask our students to reflect on their work; are we?
  • Networked—Are we planning lessons in isolation or utilizing the abundance of knowledge within the walls of OM? Of BCPS?
  • Innovator—Are our students engaged in opportunities that allow for deep dives into their own learning?
  • Leader—Do we positively influence those around us and encourage their leadership?
  • Storyteller—Are we enhancing students’ minds and connecting to their hearts?
  • Designer—Would we enjoy being a student in the spaces, and lessons that we design for 83 minutes?
  • Artist—Are we successfully molding and shaping young minds?

For more information on the 21st century educator, check out; The Principal of Change.

 

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