by Bethany Hill | 04.1.17
5-Minute PD is a series in which educators share some of the revelations that have helped shape their practice – and the stories behind how they arrived at those revelations. Educator Bethany Hill, an elementary school lead learner in Cabot, AR, contributed this one.
I believe with my whole heart in telling your school’s story. I often tell my teachers that if we don’t tell our story, someone else is going to tell it for us – and it’s probably not going to be accurate. People outside these walls need and deserve to see who our school community is, both inside and out. Who we are, more than anything, is a community of learners.
This isn’t always an easy lesson to grasp, but it’s important to remember it’s OK to make mistakes. I remember being a classroom teacher and thinking I had to know it all. But what I’ve learned is that teachers need to know they are expected not to know everything! It’s OK to fail and to need support. Teachers cannot be the best versions of themselves if they don’t feel safe enough to take those kinds of risks.
I believe we must be seen as learners right along with our students. This is why I choose to be called “lead learner” of my school, rather than “principal.”
So what does that kind of learning look like? When someone walks into my school, I want them to be surrounded by people who think differently than them, people who push them. The people who push us like that are either going to grow our thinking, or ground us in our core beliefs. But either way, they’re going to help us become better versions of ourselves.
You never know who else might need to see you making the exact mistake you’re afraid to make. That’s why I encourage my teachers to try new things, because being transparently imperfect can be one of the strongest messages we send to kids. It’s not always easy, no. But sharing our learnings is so important and can really wind up being food for a teacher’s soul.