Over the last few weeks, I’ve been sharing our secrets for getting rid of bad teachers.
What we’ve found here at Mindsteps is that you can significantly transform a school in about 18 months if you follow the right procedure. In fact, you can help just about everyone on your staff improve their teaching (and thus eradicate bad teaching from your school) by committing to a simple process:
Explore: Here is where you introduce the new normal – whether that is a new teaching approach, a renewed focus on rigor, or a new commitment to differentiated instructional practices. Use your data to figure out the best thing to focus on right now and introduce it to your staff. Give everyone time to get used to it, ask questions, raise objections, and digest the materials before asking them to implement it in their classrooms. This step is critical to securing buy in.
Engage: Now everyone has an opportunity to figure out how to implement the new normal in their classrooms. Here is where teachers experiment, try the new normal on for size, and figure out how to make it work best for them. Expect mistakes during this time and don’t penalize anyone for making them. Instead, give feedback, support, and offer opportunities to learn from mistakes as everyone gets used to implementing the new process.
Expect: Now that you’ve set your teachers up for success, you can begin to hold them accountable. At this point, you expect to see the new normal in every classroom every day. You provide additional feedback and support to help everyone implement the new normal successfully and accountability to those who may be dragging their feet.
Evaluate: At this stage, not only do you expect to see the new normal in every classroom, you also expect to see it with quality. Here is where you will give more formal feedback on how well everyone is implementing effective instructional practices in their classrooms.
Here is also where you begin to apply more stringent accountability to those who have thus far refused to implement effective teaching practices in the classroom. Because you’ve done everything to set them up for success, you will have fewer people who need this kind of accountability. And, because you’ve got a documented process, holding them accountable is much easier.
As a special bonus, most of your staff is heading in the same direction. That creates a gravitational pull towards doing the right thing. That means that you aren’t alone in your push for accountability. Other staff members will support you in your efforts to help your lagging teachers get on board.
Extend: Now that everyone is more or less on board, here is where you look at your data, document your progress, tweak your process, and start figuring out what your NEXT best move should be to build upon the progress you’ve made thus far.