Choices, questions and more ?

Posted by Brenda Yoho

One glove does not fit all

As educators, we know we need differentiation in our classrooms to meet the needs of all of our students. So why would we not do this for our staff? It takes a great deal of effort, planning, and organizing to accomplish this “one glove does not fit all” approach, but our teachers do it every day!

Staff members need individual attention, support, and training. In the classroom, children do not like to be pointed out and become the focus of attention, and neither do our staff. They need to trust those who work with them, not to be called out and focused on in a large group setting.

Teachers in every school can be labeled as “master” or “excellent” teachers to the “needs improvement” or “unsatisfactory,” no matter if the school or district is identified as exceptional or failing. All schools and districts have all levels of teachers. Each one needs professional development targeted to support their needs.

Teachers who are your master teachers are usually identified as your leaders, but not always. Master teachers are those who, each year, see growth within the classroom for each student. What makes the difference between these teachers? Can we identify in these individuals the qualities to distinguish them as excellent or master teachers? How can we increase the capacity of master teachers in all of our schools or districts? What questions should we ask?

  1. How do we define impact on student achievement?
  2. What is the impact the teacher is directly having on the achievement of students?
  3. When are assessment data and feedback provided for teachers? Students?
  4. What expectations do teachers have in regard to learning needs and rigor?
  5. Are teachers looking at the impact they are having on student achievement and evaluating this? How are teachers evaluating? Who are they evaluating with and when?
  6. In the classroom is there a balance of dialogue of students, teacher and listening?
  7. Will you find a collaborative environment and sense of community?
  8. How do you see positive building of relationships with teachers, students and families?
  9. Do students recognize what the goals are, how to successfully achieve mastery and steps to take to reach achievement.
  10. Is there a belief that all students can achieve?

I believe in asking more and more questions. However, ask the right questions in the right manner. Allow others to have opportunities to pause, think, reflect and dive deeper into thought to generate questions of their own. In life, we may not have control over everything, but we can control our choice and the questions we ask.

Change your questions, Change your life by Dr. Marilee Adams is in its 4th edition and is joined with a workbook to support our work with mindsets and our choices. There are many components in the makeup of our questions, options, and mindsets established. I will take a deeper dive into her work next week. However, I want to leave with a few thoughts from the book and mine.

Professional Development can be individualized by presenting choice. I will provide next week more ideas, resources, and ways you can provide this for your staff, no matter the size. Helping teachers identify areas of strengths and weaknesses can be supported by daily walkthroughs with a targeted focus. These resources will be added as well. Increasing the number of excellent master teachers in each building should be a goal for everyone.

“We live in the worlds our questions create.”-Change your questions, Change your life pg. 173, Dr. Adams. Are you asking questions as a Learner or Judger? We will learn more as we “switch” to look at the Question Thinking next week.

Tell me more about your thoughts on questions, choices, and mindsets. After reading this post, what are you thinking? What options do you have? Have you experienced a targeted professional development before? Please share.

"I only have 2 rules!"
© 2023 Brenda Yoho
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