As the excitement of the first days of school ripple throughout the world, our memories can be filled with so many first days of our own in various roles – as students, teachers, leaders, parents, and grandparents.  Although a lot about our schools still remains the same, our need to evolve quickly is clear.

One of the biggest shifts in our schools is our role as teachers. No longer are we the ‘keepers of knowledge’, but rather the models of how to learn.  We must be the ‘lead learner’ in our schools and classrooms.  So as the year kicks off, consider, how are you showing up as a learner? And how will your students and staff know that you are in fact, learning?

No longer are we the ‘keepers of knowledge’, but rather the models of ‘how to learn‘.

A great place to start is to learn about your students and staff.  Prioritize others, get to know their stories, their desires, their wishes.  Then, model how to use that information to make learning relevant, to make everyone feel included and part of a community, to challenge the status quo, and to inspire curiosity and light the flame of learning.

Consider these 5 questions, offered by George Couros, author of Innovate Inside the Box, to ask your students at the start of the school year.  (And I think they work well for your staff as well!)

  1.  What are the qualities you look for in a teacher (principal)?
  2.  What are you passionate about?
  3.  What is one BIG question you have for this year?
  4.  What are your strengths and how can we utilize them?
  5.  What does success at the end of the year look like for you?

And, as you begin to learn about your students and build the teacher-student relationship that is so crucial to learning, don’t forget about the importance of the student-student relationship.  We put a lot of attention on teachers greeting students at the door, but less so on students greeting each other.  Remember, we are social beings, wired to connect.  Start the year by helping them build their networks.

Learning readiness begins with feeling comfortable and safe.  So, take a minute to have your students greet the very person sitting next to them and see how the environment can shift to a more calm and relaxed state- primed for learning!


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