Do other schools think more of you than your own?

When I’m in schools, I always recognise that the teachers I’m working with are the experts on their school.expert

As well as being expert educators, they understand the idiosyncrasies of their colleagues, leaders, students and wider community.

However, what I’m finding more and more is that within schools, teacher “expertise” is often not recognised outside of their perceived domain.

In other words, teachers limit ourselves and each other by our job title. We are there to teach our subject(s), do playground duty and write reports. There is little attention paid to actively recognising and nurturing innovation, collaboration or creativity.

Up until a few years ago this meant that people just got on with what they were paid to do and thought little more of it.

However, with the advent of social media, and Twitter in particular, this has changed.

Online, I regularly see PE teachers from one school collaborating with English or Drama teachers from another. Sharing their ideas, experiences etc. Maths teachers developing innovative ideas with art teacher.

Yet when I ask about such collaborations taking place within the walls of their own school, very often there’s not much doing.

Which led me to ask this question (on Twitter obviously!):

Which led to some interesting debate on Twitter over the weekend… here are the picks…

So with these thoughts in mind, I sought the opinion of school leaders who I KNOW value and actively encourage autonomy, creativity and innovation in their staff.

Ben Jones – Head of Teaching & Learning in Public School in Western Sydney

Stephen Harris – Principal of Northern Beaches Christian School

And to finish with, I couldn’t go past this one… I LOVE the sentiments expressed by John his tweet.

John Goh – Principal of a Public Primary School in Western Sydney

Amen…

0 thoughts on “Do other schools think more of you than your own?

  1. lsacker Reply

    TODAY Our learning team leaders discussed what encouraging a spirit of creativity and innovations would look like and sound like in their learning teams. This is part of their job description. Even with this, it’s not always welcome when someone in the team is an amazing change agent , ALAS

    • Dan H Reply

      Thanks for the comment… I heard a great line from Jason Fox recently, he says, “Everyone loves innovation… until it affects them!” πŸ™‚

  2. john goh Reply

    Imagine the school that we could create if we gather all the awesome oz educators on twitter and put them together…… we would smash Finland.

  3. Nicole Reply

    Dan I love the way you say what many of us are thinking. It offers great solace to know there are other teachers out there feeling, seeing and hearing the same ‘stories’. I think sometimes our own schools are less likely to recognise what we do because we are ‘family’ and familiar – to some extent, it is expected. However at a less benign level it could be due to competitiveness and fear. Fear that when someone else does things in new ways, it somehow means the old ways are less valid and, if the old ways are intrinsically linked to a sense of identity… well I think you can see where I am going with this.

    • Denise Lombardo (@denise_lombardo) Reply

      The second half of Nicole’s comment resonates with me. 140 characters not enough to explain the complexities! Connecting online for me was not about ego-stroking, but about “connecting”, and finding so many other “glass half full” teachers at a time when I needed some positivity. My role was a new one in the school, and inherent in the role description was a big dose of “change agent” – for me, I didn’t see that as scary because I know I work with others where they’re at, but it took me a long while to work out that just the presence of the role had hidden implications for others. It’s been a long road, but the tide is turning and we are almost all swimming in the same direction. But the fact that things are looking up is due in large part to the sorts of things advocated by the leaders above: collaboration, professional dialogue, support, risk-taking, and exploration. Thanks!

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