This past week has been one of complete emotion for myself as an administrator. Just over 12 months ago I listened to an idea of a colleague about how we were going to have to build a team that would end all teams. How we would use a model from one district and make it our own...make it work for us. I had no idea what it would look like or if it would be anything special, but I knew that if we were going to begin to change the culture of instructional practices in our district it would have to be done from within. I knew that it couldn't be done with four or five people, but instead it would take a team of teachers that were embedded in buildings across our district. From this idea and this conversation was born the #NextGenCadre.
Fast forward to this past week when I got to see first hand the work of a select group of that team as they presented and participated at a national conference in Keystone, CO. The hard work of not only themselves but other members of the group was solidified by the response of so many who heard their story. They talked about how they were given permission to take risks, how they were given permission to fail. I had such mixed emotions listening to the three of them as they each shared their journey on how they transformed their instructional practices. On one hand I thought about how great is was for them to share their story of struggles and ultimate success, while at the same time I thought how sad is was that they needed permission to push the envelope, that they needed permission to be innovative in their classrooms. So as I reflect I hope to motivate. I hope to inspire others in education to try something different and better so that they may positively impact themselves as professionals and the students they work with in their classrooms and schools.
They needed permission to fail.
After their presentation and the other morning sessions we took some time as team to enjoy some of the sights of Keystone, Colorado. And as we talked and reflected about the presentation that they had done earlier in the morning I looked out at this beautiful view from atop the mountain and knew that this work has only begun; that this wasn't going to be the only time a group of teachers that I worked with were going to "climb this mountain" and have this feeling of success. As I reflected and listened to their conversations on this day, I knew that it was only right that more and more teachers were put in a position to take risks and be innovative so that they could have this type of growth opportunity and feel what all of us were feeling at this moment.
No longer should teachers be worried about failing, but instead they should be worried about not taking that chance for what I'd call growth opportunities. Growth opportunities are what make us go. Growth opportunities are what push us to improve and push us to more positively impact the lives of the students we teach and learn from on a daily basis. I'm not talking failure anymore but I am talking about teachers who use small set backs as growth opportunities fully knowing that they are supported by me and a team that is 20 strong. Here's to the next #NextGenCadre! There is no mountain we can't climb.
InstructureCon 2017: Keystone, Colorado
Beautiful scenery, unbelievable swag, and good times were all in abundance at Mission: InstructureCon, but they all paled in comparison to a presentation I witnessed by three RCS teachers!
Hunter Lambright, Richard Green, and Melody Williams spoke passionately about the RCSNextGen Cadre process in their presentation, "Failing Is The New Black: Changing Mindsets By Taking Risks." Their authenticity was palpable, the audience was hooked, and the message was clear-taking chances for teaching and learning is worth the risk-even when it's more work to do so.
Of all of the sessions I attended during the week, no other had educators heading up the aisle to get screenshots of their valuable examples of the road map of Canvas implementation through the Cadre process. No other session had more people seek out the presenters afterwords or led to more hits on the RCSNextGen website and hashtag - the response was overwhelming and well deserved.
For me personally, this was a tangible example of the power of an idea. An idea, from a professional development conference, that stuck and was developed, tweaked and launched with the understanding that it takes many voices, across all subject areas, job titles and grade levels to grow, and continue to grow, our own.
It was also a reminder of the Growth Mindset and the "Power of Yet" in action. The twenty plus members of the first cadre were all examples of this and I thought of each and everyone of them as I heard Hunter, Richard, and Melody speak-because all of them were a part of the growth that led to this presentation. They all took the risk and they all failed forward!
At InstructureCon 2017 I got to celebrate RCS teachers who took the challenge, failed forward, and found new life in teaching that will benefit our students, our local community, and our world!
A mountain was climbed during the NextGen Cadre process. Please consider joining us for #RCSNextGen Round 2!
Today's post comes to us from Mr. Tim Arnold. Tim is in his first year as an eLearning Specialist with the Richmond Community schools. Prior to that, he spent 26 years as a social studies teacher, coach, and educational leader at Nettle Creek Schools in Hagerstown. Tim curates a nationally recognized technology and learning blog and was selected as a top ten educator in the State of Indiana in 2008. Tim and his wife Julie, a “rock-star” 6th grade science teacher, are graduates of Indiana University (BS ‘90) and Ball State University (MA ‘97) and have two college age children, Kelsie and Nick.