What a year it’s been for Keep Indiana Learning! In 2022, we made great strides in developing relationships with our learning partners. Frankly, relationships are at the forefront of what we do—that includes teachers, administrators, and students. As we continue to grow, think about how to create the best opportunities for educators, and do our own learning, we challenge ourselves to think outside the box to get better and better. Overall, our programming has immensely improved, plus we have incredible plans for our INLearning partnership—a powerful collaboration of Keep Indiana Learning with the Indiana Department of Education and Five-Star Technology’s Indiana Learning Lab—in 2023!
Keep Indiana Learning currently offers multiple instructional leadership Cadres—Indiana Math Leadership Academy (IMLA), Project EM-PACT, Big Math Ideas Instructional Leadership Cadre, Student-Centered Coaching Cadre, and the New Teacher Cadre. Each Cadre provides support for teachers and instructional leaders alike to become the best teachers and leaders possible.
Moving into the new year, we encourage teachers everywhere to set a few educational goals to accomplish in 2023. As mentioned, relationships hold weight in the success of education. In order to build relationships with your students, you must keep them engaged. Challenge yourself to try one new thing in class, or to learn something new, let it simmer, and think about how you might apply it to a lesson. Finally, we urge you to find a learning partner, which is essentially someone to think and grow with (and provide support when you need it). Educational partnerships are invaluable to your growth.
Building educational relationships—both teacher-to-admin and teacher-to-student—is a never-ending process. Those who serve as the mentor, teacher, or facilitator of learning must know who they are mentoring to provide the best methods of progression. No matter the learner’s age, there is so much information to process. It’s important to get to know your learner, so you know how to set them up for success. Especially when you’re going into buildings to work with teachers, they need to trust you and who you are before they are going to trust your knowledge and what you have to offer them.
One of the most valuable things you can do in educational relationships is to establish a more open environment to strengthen those relationships. Particularly, administrators may tend to take on too many initiatives that put too much weight on teachers. To avoid burnout, we recommend streamlining your plans (the teachers will thank you.)
Here are 6 best practices for administrators to follow:
- Develop your school improvement plan, and involve teachers in the process.
- Make your school improvement plan goals public to everyone—teachers, parents, and the community. All stakeholders should know what the goals are.
- Ensure that each teacher’s goals connect to the school’s goals.
- All professional development should be directly related to the school improvement plan and therefore will connect to teacher goals.
- In teacher evaluations, discuss the goals and how your evaluation connects to them. Question what you can do to help teachers achieve their goals. Prompt teachers to bring evidence of what’s happening in their classroom to their evaluation meetings and let teachers guide the evaluation process. When administrators make it a group learning experience, it benefits both parties.
- Celebrate the wins. All the time. As much as humanly possible.
As for teachers entering the second half of the school year, remember to focus on what your students are learning and what you’re teaching them. You can always brainstorm new strategies to build relationships with students. Additionally, be cautious not to shift your focus completely to the standardized tests that are looming. Good teaching will yield successful test-taking.
The beauty of education is that it is never-ending. There is always something to look forward to, something to improve on, new ideas to massage, or an old idea to enhance. Keep Indiana Learning is proud of the strides made in 2022 to transform the landscape of education, and it’s only going to get better moving forward.