“What are you most excited to teach today?”
Has anyone ever asked you this question?
This week, I was in a meeting discussing the book The Connected Educator by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Lani Ritter Hall. The discussion revolved around leadership, collegiality, and risk-taking. Much time was spent wondering what keeps us from being high-performing, collegial teams with a shared mission and vision.
I was thinking about this again and thinking back on all the new projects I have created in the last year. And I was thinking about the people who supported me on the way with these projects. And not just people who have been supportive, but people who have been genuinely excited.
That’s when it hit me –
Who gets excited about what you are doing in the classroom? I don’t mean your spouse, significant other, or the students in your classroom. They “get it” already. They know how exciting your classroom is. But do we get genuinely excited – really get enthusiastic – about what our colleagues are doing on a day to day basis?
Little kids tell us things because they think everyone will be excited to hear it. But when adults stop being excited by what children tell them, kids stop sharing so freely and so excitedly. (Think about kids losing teeth)
The same can be said of educators: If nobody’s going to be excited about what I’m doing in my classroom, I’m not going to stop doing it - I know it’s good! Rather, I’m just not going to tell people about it so much. It’s self-defense. And what good does that do for anyone? Shared mission requires a shared enthusiasm about why we exist. Shared vision requires a shared excitement about the future. And that starts with shared excitement that builds trust on a day-to-day basis.
So how do we overcome this? Perhaps we should go around to other teachers and say, “What are you most excited to teach today? Tell me about it!” and then make the time to listen and share the excitement. We ask students what the most exciting part of their day will be. We ask students what they are most excited to learn. We need to ask each other what we are most excited to teach.