Thursday, January 1, 2015

Getting the right teachers on the bus

If you have to ask the question, “Why should we try to make it great? Isn’t success enough?” then you’re probably engaged in the wrong line of work.”
-Jim Collins, Good to Great 

When I first read Collins' strategy of "getting the right people on the bus and the wrong people off the bus," I questioned whether it would work for schools, since we can't just unload people mid-year, and we can't hold out for the right person when a school year is looming.

I also questioned whether it fit with a growth-mindset model of leadership. If teachers are struggling, if they are rated as "Developing" in the new teacher evaluation system, isn't our job to support them and help them to improve, rather than just get them off the bus? That's should definitely be our approach with kids. Our job is not to filter them out of the system, but support them until every single one of them succeeds.

But then I came to the above passage in Good to Great, and I realized who the right people are--they're the one's who want to improve themselves and student performance. They're the one's who see the need for continuous improvement. They're the ones we need to support, because they have the most essential component for success. They're the ones we need on the bus.

The teacher evaluation system is designed to support teacher who see the need for constant improvement. The rest? Well, maybe we can change their minds, but if not, I'm afraid they're probably in the wrong line of work.

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