Part of a school leader’s job is to create conditions in which teachers work collaboratively to achieve excellence in their instructional practices and in student learning.
But with near-constant demands, how can school leaders assess teachers and work with each one individually to ensure instructional excellence? The answer lies in administrative support and teacher mindset.
“The success of every student is really dependent on the quality of the teacher,” said John Wink, superintendent of Blue Ridge ISD in Blue Ridge, Texas, during an edWeb leadership webinar. “How do we get excellence in every classroom? It really starts with the mindset of the teacher.”
The instructional excellence mindset includes a constant yearning for continuous improvement, an obsession with learning, purposeful passion to know more, and grit — a relentless persistence to be the best for all students.
“The best way to know what excellence is, is to know what it’s not,” Wink said. “Excellence is not common. The art and science of teaching seems to be common, but the very best teachers seem to do it in a way that’s not common.
“Excellence is a choice. The very best teachers I’ve ever met don’t want to be second to anybody. I believe this idea of excellence is a very difficult path because in order to become excellent, we go through this place called ‘discomfort.’ It’s hard work to be excellent,” he said. “Excellent schools guarantee learning excellence in students by promoting and supporting excellence in the ongoing learning of their teachers.”