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  • shelhusk

Working together...

A couple of nights ago, my friend Tyler and I went to the Kennedy Center to see the National Symphony Orchestra perform music from all 11 Star Wars movies (the 9 in the trilogy and 2 of the side story movies). It was absolutely incredible to hear that music from such talented musicians.

It got me thinking about what can happen if professionals choose to work together for a common goal. Every single one of these musicians played their part expertly and with passion. The result was a venue filled with music that told a story of love or battle and transported you to another place. It was 2 hours of saying, "Wow". My hats off to each and every talented musician and to the conductor who stood aside and let the professionals do what they do best. He found the best people and trusted that they would, in the end, give the performance to remember.

There are many leaders in education who could take a lesson from this concert. The best administrators are the ones who find the right people and then get out of their way, trusting they will get the job done. We need more of these administrators, because too many feel the need to dictate every step needed to get to a common goal. The goal for every school should be to provide a safe space that allows all students to become their best self. The question, and source of constant struggle, is how do we get there? This is where too many administrators believe they have all the answers, usually after attending some conference, where they learn about the lastest "bright and shiny" educational initiative that claims to fix all students. Most of these initiatives are not new, just recycled ideas from 15-20 years ago. They forget that a districts greatest resource is its teachers. In particular, its veteran teachers. We are they education professionals who have spent our careers filling our teaching toolkits so that we can pull years of knowledge out when students who need to learn in a different way. A message to administrators: stop being intimidated by veteran teachers, hire the right people for the job, tell them the common goal, get out of their way, and watch the magic happen.

I think of the Einstein Fellow family, with 32 groups (over 34 years) of incredible STEM teachers from all over the country. The 33rd group was recently announced. The U.S. Department of Energy, who runs the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Program, selects the right teachers and matches them to a federal assignment. We all have 1 major goal, bring quality, engaging STEAM experiences to all students. They pick the right people, give them basic training and then get out of their way. I think of the impact this year has had on me and my colleagues and it makes me very proud to say I am and always will be an Einstein Fellow. I have been allowed to be my best self, and I will carry that with me next year in the classroom and my state as I move back to North Dakota.

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