Teaching our students to have a growth mindset is an integral part of what we do as educators; however, we assert that educators must also have a growth mindset in order to foster this in our students.. How is a growth mindset nurtured? After reflecting on this question, we have found that three main things help us to keep growing as educators and leaders: professional reading, Twitter, and professional organizations.
First of all, we both are avid readers. We read everything we can get our hands on, both old and new, from books and journal articles to blogs and manuals. No, seriously, we read manuals and happily highlight them. TEA’s 2017 Accountability Manual is always within reach as it is necessary for us to know in detail how our schools will be measured and rated. For more inspirational reading, TASA’s publication, Creating a New Vision for Public Education serves as our guidebook for shaping our schools to be a place where 21st century learning is cultivated as it was written by 35 Texas superintendents about 10 years ago to inspire educators to make public schools better for all Texas school children. The superintendents were frustrated with the present direction of Texas public education and set out to describe with clarity and specificity how a preferred future for our Texas public schools should look. While our list of books is extensive, we reference some of our favorites in our blog posts from time to time. We also plan to do more posts sharing books that have had an impact on us. Periodicals and newsletters published by the organizations of which we are members are also some of our favorite reading material. TEPSA’s Instructional Leader and TEPSA News are some of our staples.
Another major way we stay connected to other educational leaders is through Twitter. The use of Twitter for professional learning has allowed us to grow our professional learning network (PLN) extensively. We get ideas for our campuses, learn about innovative programs and have our thinking and beliefs challenged in ways that inspire us to learn more and grow. Participating in Twitter chats locally, statewide, nationwide, and even internationally are one of the ways we make connections. For example, our district hosts a weekly Twitter chat, #RISDchat on Tuesday evenings at 8:00 pm. You are welcome to join us anytime. Some of our other favorites include #leadupchat on Saturday mornings at 8:00 am and #LearnLAP on Monday evenings at 7:00 pm. In fact, a group of us from our district are hosting the #LearnLAP chat on Monday, January 8th. Please mark your calendars and join us!
Actively participating in professional organizations is another opportunity to collaborate with other educators. Social media makes it so easy to stay connected to members of professional organizations. Since we are elementary educators, we are both actively involved in TEPSA, Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association. We love their motto, “We support your work so you can focus on students.” Consider becoming a member, http://www.tepsa.org/?MembershipHome and definitely follow them on Twitter @TEPSAtalk. Some of the member benefits include legal benefits when you need help, providing the latest news and information on Texas education, professional learning opportunities, career connections, opportunities to make your voice heard, and a multitude of other support including the publications we mentioned previously. We are each involved in other organizations too such as ASCD, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and TASA, Texas Association of School Administrators, each of which have member benefits of their own. We encourage you to get connected with at least one professional organization that is a good fit for you and your role.
Collaboration is an important part of establishing and nurturing a growth mindset. We are thankful for the resources at our fingertips to become better educators today than we were yesterday. Our students deserve our very best, so we must equip ourselves to give our best each and every day.