I spent the last week at an Advancing Educational Leadership certification course. As a part of this week, we were tasked with developing a vision statement. This is more than a motto, which I've talked about in this blog- http://didacticchad.weebly.com/home/the-motto-of-teaching
A vision statement should be succinct, but also descriptive. It needs to be powerful and compelling.
And it it needs to mean something, so that it is not a phrase you craft and forget. Here is what I came up with:
The three main points align with my approach to education, but also my own personal morality. For more details, let's start with innovate.
I must admit, my daughter Kenna has gotten me addicted to Minecraft. Since it's summer, I've got some time. I've been building a hotel, I plan to build a pirate ship. Kenna asked me, "Can you do that?" I responded "We will find out!"
I learn by doing- usually by doing it my way. It's trial and error, but I love to create. I do it on Minecraft, I do it in my classroom design, and I try it in my instruction all the time. But it is not just doing new things for the sake of new- it's creating to make it better, to teach more students. My goal in innovation is to inspire my students to innovate- to think about different ways to approach problems. I value the kind of thinking and the courage it takes to innovate, so it leads off the value statement. But without a sort of boundary, innovation can go wrong.
There are actually two ways I approach Integrity. One, the most obvious, is moral. I want to honor and respect others, and I believe that teaching students to find their own moral compass- and follow it- is about integrity. I need to be an example of integrity to my students, to model honesty and loyalty and follow-through.
The second approach to integrity related to how I develop my craft as an educator. It is not just about my students, it is about how I can share my ideas and innovations with my fellow educators. In order to do that, I must honestly reflect on the data I collect in my class. I must dutifully and honestly evaluate what works- and what doesn't. All in pursuit of developing my craft.
I have always been fascinated by the idea of identity- how it is developed, grows, and evolves. When I Innovate with Integrity, I develop my identity as a teacher, and my class's identity. A teacher needs to know who they are, what they stand for. It's what a vision statement is all about. But as I innovate in my class with integrity, I am providing my students with tools to develop THEIR identity. They find how the content connects with their life, how it informs their actions. How it becomes a part of who they are.
See, as much as education is about equations and poets and dates and skills, it's about growing into the person we are to become. As a teacher, I want to create an environment where students can safely explore identity, with integrity and innovation.
What is your vision?
I teach Psychology, Sociology, World History Honors and Debate at College Station High School, as well as coach the debate team, sponsor the TED Ed Club, and I am the Lead Innovator for LEADS CSISD (A student leadership empowerment program for 5th-8th graders). I am an aspiring administrator.