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.