Teachers have this strange cultural phenomenon. So many of us fail to talk about what we do well. We rarely celebrate ourselves and recognize our own successes. Part of the job of a leader is to break that cultural stigma and help develop an atmosphere of sharing and learning.
I have seen and heard from many teachers that don’t want to step out, don’t want to let others know about the great things they are doing. Why wouldn’t teachers want to share the exciting news of their passion, expertise and dedication to the profession? Culture.
Many school cultures simply don’t value sharing, feedback, and reflection. Many schools have this deeply rooted in their culture from years of learned behavior. Valuing these things means placing emphasis on them and devoting time to them. It also means leading by sharing the great things of others. How often have you been in a meeting where someone asked for opinions or ideas and you heard only dead space? So much of this stems from learned behaviors through years of not speaking up, not sharing.
Tonight I was part of an amazing Google Hang Out with some very intelligent educators and friends, some of whom bring the former military aspect to the conversation. It wasn’t for any specific purpose other than to discuss and learn together. We didn’t share it because the anonymity of a more private space to talk openly and honestly about our lives and our education. During that amazing discussion there was one piece of enlightenment I felt I must share upon reflection.
In the Military you are always both being recognized for your excellence and sharing your expertise. It is not bragging, nor are you making others look bad. By striving for excellence you are making the group better. By recognizing excellence you are creating inspiration for more excellence. This is the culture we need to bring to our schools. We need to set up and establish systems that encourage sharing and empower excellence.
I have not been one to stand up and share enough in my own school. I tell some people where I go and what I am doing, but as the systems start to come into place in my own school for sharing the good that we are doing as educators, it is my job to be an example. As one of my group discussed tonight, we have to share, have to tell what we are doing, if not, that culture will never change.