Permission to Change

Don’t forget to remain a student while you teach others. To me, that is what being a teaching/learning professional is all about. I also think it is about the support that comes with the permission to change as an educator. And it’s about learning in a way that makes sense, so a person can make use of what they learn.

I’m headed out in the field this week to work with a K-8 group of district principals. Their goal is to have me facilitate their thinking around how they can help teachers increase their students’ math achievement by implementing hands-on supplemental math tasks into their curriculum. They are willing to add professional capital to help build on the expertise of their teachers. I will lead them through disciplined thinking and actions, helping them to create a plan that is successful. I want them to be able to construct a shared vision, committing to actions that lead to academic success for their students. This will be an opportunity for them to use their leadership skills to help move the vision and create a culture of improvement and empowerment for their teachers.

I will begin by having the principals engage in hands-on math tasks. I’ll ask them to experience math in a hands-on way, so they can better understand the visual and abstract representations of it. Hands-on math is engaging and offers the rigor, and cognitive complexity that teachers are expected to use to teach students. It nicely supplements the math curriculum of the district.

Next, the real work will begin. I will lead the principals in an exercise to develop a Theory of Change for having their teachers learn and implement supplemental hands-on math in their classrooms, to accomplish the goal of increasing student math achievement. Around that, my goal is to have the group of principals embrace their leadership and to implement innovation in the district, all while remaining a learning professional themselves.

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