Leave them better than you found them


One of my favorite people always says that you should leave people better than you found them. This applies to education too! If you are a classroom teacher, it is your goal to leave your students “better than you found them”. That goes beyond ensuring that they learn required content (though that folds into this) and extends to giving them opportunities to discover their voices, test their skills, and engage meaningfully with content. If you are an administrator at any level, you may be reading this an nodding your head right now but this applies to you too! Your teachers and principals need more than your standard sit and get PD peppered with a few “break out” and “workshop” sessions. They are professionals after all who went to school for quite a while to attain the positions they have. Out of respect for their ability to learn and solve complex problems hand them a few to tackle and see what they come up with! I cannot tell you how often leadership believes that leading involves solving every problem and providing all direction. This is the opposite of leading. It is important that as classroom teacher, building principal, district administrator you take time to develop the people under you. They need opportunities to grow and your school/district/classroom will be better for it. This is difficult for people who are new in their position. I mean new teachers, new principals, new administrators. I once had a professor tell me that new leaders in education always want to make their own mark first before they look around and consider what needs to be done. This may be true in your experience as well. If you are the newbie have no fear! There are things you can put into place to allow teachers to learn from one another, principals to learn from one another and in the case of teachers, get students to work together. Here is one of my favorite TED Talks on the importance of feedback and feedback systems

If you listened to that one and came away with how to innovate your PD for kids, teachers, principals beyond “breakout boxes” and QR codes watch this one which talks about just how we advocate for design thinking among students it cross applies to teachers and I would push and say admin as well.

Remember, to lead is to constantly learn and while others may not tell you the truth, I always will. Your students/teachers/principals need voice, choice, and authentic connections built into their professional development if you are ever going to leave them better than you found them.    – Dr. Kia