Striving to build and maintain high-functioning teams of people in our schools is a layered and complex task, especially when asking our teachers to implement new and fast-changing technology. Even when we bring together the most brilliant minds in our spaces, it can be an art to create a space where those people are pushing themselves and one another to achieve elevated levels of greatness. When a leader pushes for innovation and new practices, we need our teachers to not only take risks, but share in honest reflections about these experiences and plans for continued growth.
Shared risk-taking is a collaborative process. And even when those risks are taken, the work is only half-done if we are not creating safe reflective spaces for our weaker qualities to be exposed. This requires trust and vulnerability. It also requires participants to know that there is a common vision for growth; not just a critique or evaluation, that will be the ultimate outcome of this exposure and reflection.
Want to build communities of learners that engage in reflective practices and push one another? Start with asking questions that teach you about the heart. Know what drives people. Listen to their passions and hold their fears close. When the work is underway, it will be hard. Don’t forget to celebrate.
Jenna Shaw is passionate about changing the educational landscape through innovation, creation, and technology integration. After teaching middle school language arts for seven years, Jenna transitioned into the role of Technology Leader. She has taught in both public and charter schools in Baltimore City, Maryland. Her experience working in urban environments has allowed her to find spaces of great potential, building teams and strategic plans that set the foundation for change beyond normal expectations. In her free time, Jenna enjoys reading, traveling, blogging, and dancing.
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