If we think of the school year as being for the kids, the week before school starts is the time for the teachers. Spending time this week with the teachers as they get ready for their classes, one thing is crystal clear - their thoughts are about the kids. Building this team of professionals has been very similar to how I have built teams in the past: hire a team of diverse individuals that are passionate and compassionate.
I define diversity as diversity in thought and thought process. In hiring a team, you need the big-picture, top-down, and data-driven thinkers. You need creative, right-brained people and sequential, left-brained people. We looked for introverts, as well as extroverts.
In forming our team, we also looked for a variety of professional backgrounds. This is one of the things I'm most proud of about our team, as each person will bring a unique perspective that has been shaped by his or her professional background.
The one common attribute: Every single person has decided to dedicate their lives to educating children. Our goal in purposely recruiting professionals with such a wide variety of professional backgrounds is that we can all learn from each other's strengths and support each other's weaknesses. We will bring different points of view to the table which I hope will lead to lively discussions!
Passion and compassion are absolute must haves for teachers. We look for teachers who are passionate about their subject matter. It's why they chose to study that field in college. We look for teachers who want to share that passion with the kids in their class, while showing compassion for those children by attending to their needs - noticing when they need to be challenged, encouraged or supported. Together it is what great teachers do!
Ron Clark's book, The Excellent 11: Qualities Teachers and Parents Use to Motivate, Inspire, and Educate Children informed us about other qualities to look for, but the three key ones were diversity in thought and thought process, passion and compassion.
Like musicians with various talents, life experiences and tastes, both teachers and children are about to come together to make, to create, and to learn together. We hope to inspire, reach and support each other this year to do things we never thought we could do. I am excited about our teaching team and confident that we have assembled a symphony. Let the music begin!
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