As I continue to work in the field of education, I have noticed a significant decline in standard guidance outlining what is required of teachers at many schools. Teachers are often left to their own devices to source materials online or create their own, thus eliminating consistency in how content is presented from grade to grade; methods of teaching vary from class to class depending on the teacher’s style as do the amounts of homework given, if any at all. From an administrative perspective, I can appreciate the desire to let your staff flourish based on individual strengths and personal creativity; however, before you can get to a place where this can happen, it’s important to realize that without a set foundation or organized plan of attack, instead of an empowered and creative staff you will end up with one that is exhausted and on the verge of burnout. Why? Because creativity without some form of organization in place first leads to chaos, and chaos leads to stress.
The solution? As much as you as an administrator may not want to hamper your staff’s individual voices and say in how the school functions, it is important to organize those voices from the very beginning. Too many opinions lead to a vision that isn’t aligned correctly, and mismatched ideas and viewpoints will result in confusion and individual teachers proceeding as they see fit. Therefore, it’s up to you to outline the vision and all it encompasses – mission, philosophy, teaching methods, etc. and to create the educational framework that allows that vision to transpire. For more information on frameworks, see the following articles.
What is an Educational Framework?
A Vision vs. an Educational Framework
Designing an Educational Framework
It's All in the Implementation
Once the foundational work is done and after the framework has been shared with staff, the next step is implementation – which is crucial to success. Just because staff is aware of what is expected, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will do it. It will be up to you to check teacher planners, observe staff as they teach and to mentor them. There will be those who complain, and it will take time to get everyone on board but after 6 months to a year, you will see the shift as teachers understand the expectations and come together as a unified staff. It is then and only then that you can begin to loosen up and allow individual thoughts and creativity to flow because all the energy and ideas brought forth will serve to further the school’s vision. Teachers will be delivering content in a similar manner, materials that are sourced or created will support these teaching methods, and a clear homework policy will be in place across the board, etc., thus creating a cohesive approach to teaching and learning. And within the safety of this structured environment teachers will be able to thrive, both as individuals and as a team.
Control and organization do not equate to the stifling of creativity; it in fact, establishing a strong foundation with set guidelines does the exact opposite. When staff are comfortable knowing where they are headed, they spend less time worrying whether what they are doing is correct and more time creating freely within the boundaries that have been outlined. Interested in empowering your staff and would like assistance in developing your school’s educational framework? Contact us, we are happy to help!