Santa Cruz/Silicon Valley New Teacher Project – A New Kind of Teacher, Excerpts

By Wendy Baron, Associate Director of the New Teacher Center
Ellen Moir, Chief Executive Officer of the New Teacher Center

As leaders, we can foster the development of quality teachers. It means developing the skills of teaching, and the dispositions that support thinking and problem solving. These include reflection, self-assessment, flexibility, having a lens of equity, listening with openness and empathy, holding multiple perspectives and having a spirit of inquiry.

Here are 10 ways principals can support teachers to develop the dispositions and skills of highly effective teachers:

  1. Foster collegial dialogue about student work and differentiating instruction
  2. Invite teachers to reflect on a successful teaching event and discuss with colleagues what made it successful
  3. Provide an opportunity for teachers to problem-pose and problem-solve within the context of a staff meeting
  4. Arrange for “student voices” to be heard so teachers can learn what students think are effective teaching strategies
  5. Take a new teacher’s class for 45 minutes to enable an observation of a veteran colleague
  6. Invite teachers to talk about their practice in relation to specific CSTP standard
  7. Begin a dialogue about the difference between equality and equity. Invite colleagues to share strategies that support teaching for equity
  8. Brainstorm ways that teachers can connect the content with students’ backgrounds, interests and cultures
  9. Discuss a professional article related to an area of staff interest
  10. Invite new teachers to share their progress and ask what support they need from you to be even more successful in the classroom

Like anything valuable, dispositions and habits of mind do not form in a day. Teachers need regular opportunities to think, reflect, and dialogue about their practice. As the educator Horace Man wrote in the 1800’s,

“Habit is a cable. We weave a thread of it
each day, and at last we cannot break it.”