The school year has begun for many, and we are all making our goals for the upcoming academic year. The commitments we make to ourselves and our students say a lot about the type of educator we hope to be. Here is an inside look into three of the (many) commitments that our innovative educators will be making for the upcoming year.
#1 A Commitment to Learning
Innovative Educators are not just committed to life-long learning, they are passionately curious individuals that firmly believe being an educator is more about learning than it is about teaching. These educators will not only attend conventions and inservice days, they will look outward for new learning.
Many will participate in Twitter chats to learn from fellow colleagues across the country. They will also look to online courses on anything from classroom management to entrepreneurship 101. They know that learning about concepts outside their discipline will not only stretch their imagination, it will give them new ways to approach problem solving in their work with students.
Join them: Set a goal for yourself to learn new skills or concepts this year. Consider the many ways you can achieve this goal (ie. books, blogs, conferences, eCourses, video tutorials on YouTube, etc.), and carve out time to engage in these activities.
#2 A Commitment to Action
Thomas Edison famously said, "Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration." Innovative educators are always producing. Being a change agent requires you to actually produce initiatives, programs and services for students that create change in the educational experience. Many will talk about changing the game, and few will actually do something about it. Innovative educators will produce many prototypes this year.
They won't wait for something to be perfect. On the contrary, they will create prototypes and always be focused on launching their new ideas. They will seek out feedback from students and colleagues and work to always improve those prototypes. We won't be wondering what they did at the end of the year. Instead, may of us will be in awe of how much they produced over the course of the year.
Join them: If you struggle with analysis paralysis and often hold back on launching until something is perfect, find a mentor that can help you overcome these fears and hold you accountable for producing. Often you will just need some help figuring out the best way to prototype an idea, so find someone that is successful with this and ask them to help you flush out your ideas.
#3 A Commitment to ALL Students
Innovative educators have an intense commitment to student success. Their drive to innovate education comes from a strong belief in all students. They know that not every student is the same, and they believe that every student has the potential to be engaged in the learning process. They also recognize this will come more naturally for some, and others will not so readily participate. Innovative educators are inspired by the spectrum our students fall upon in terms of engagement, and are excited by the challenge to engage all students no matter where they fall on that spectrum. They see it as an opportunity to get creative, and find new ways to engage and empower the disengaged.
They will begin the year by listening and intently observing their students. These observations will help inform their practice as they move into the next phase of prototyping new ways to engage all students in the learning process. They will be committed to this until every last student is an active participant in the learning process.
Join them: Re-frame your challenges with the disengaged students, and think of it as an opportunity to exercise your creativity as an educator. This is what we live for, the opportunity change the minds of those students that decided school isn't for them.
Innovative educators will make other goals and commitments to themselves and their students this year. What are some of the other commitments you are making this year? How can others join you in making these commitments? I would love to hear about your goals in the comments section.