Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I'm stuck on your heart (Tina Turner from 'Simply The Best')

Back to Todd Whitaker's book. I like the approach he has.

According to him there are only two ways to improve schools.

One - get better teachers.
Two - improve the teachers you have.

In the UAE context getting better teachers is a fluke. This is because Principals can't choose who gets terminated and who gets a job in their schools.

At the end of each year a termination list appears in the school. Last year we lost seven staff. We're not sure why. Four were of retirement age but three were not (and they were good teachers).

This year we arrived on the first day of school and met their replacements. There had been no imput by the school into their employment. By a fluke we appear to have strengthened our teaching staff.

The whole chemsitry of the staff is a fluke here. A nicer bunch of men you would be hard pressed to find. The relationships they have with each other and their students is a constant source of inspiration for me.

For us then it is a matter of improving the teachers we have.

But let's assume for a minute that the Principal could employ someone. What is Todd's advice?

Employ talent!

Simple. What does he define as talent?

Love of students. Bright mind. Positive attitude. Congenial personality. Great work ethic. Leadership skills. Charisma.

I love the list because they are mostly qualities that are inherent in a person, rather than learned.

My conviction is that great teachers are inherently great.

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