This week I sat through several screening interviews for the administrative position at my school. While taking notes, I wrote these words about my favorite applicant: She would make me a better teacher. Later I came to this epiphany - I can't say those words about any of my previous administrators.
Here's the crazy part. I never noticed. Not once did I feel any lack. In fact, two of my administrators in particular, were out-of-this-world amazing. I consider myself beyond blessed to have worked under their guidance. Yet I can't recall any moments in the evaluation process where I ever felt stretched or was given something to chew on regarding my practice. I don't believe they let me down though. What they did do, they did so well, that I was able to concentrate on my classroom and my methods. Their leadership gave me space to learn and grow and be a professional. I am forever grateful.
So what is the moral of this tale? I've been tossing that question around for a few days myself. I think Gentry provides the answer. When it comes down to it, I'm the one who knows my practice best. Though it would be ideal to have another set of eyes to help me see next steps on my trajectory of improvement, sometimes that's just not reality. Ultimately, I'm responsible for analyzing what I do from day to day, asking the hard questions, and pushing myself to the next level. I must be my own instructional leader. Having said that, it's a blessed thing when the administrator creates a culture where this is all possible.
(Please know that I'm in no way bashing administrators. Like I said, I've been so blessed by mine. I'm curious though. Have your administrators made you a better teacher? If so, how? I'd love to hear from you.)