"Our applicants collectively were more motivated, mature, disciplined and consistent in their high school years than past applicants."
Although many of us cannot make sweeping decisions like this, we can begin by examining the very area where students will spend a good part of their day - our classrooms.
How will students feel when they walk in? Will they, for that brief period, feel encouraged to stretch their limits and take risks? Will they know this is a space where they can tackle tough questions? Learning asks all of us to be present - not just our intellect, but our full selves, which includes our emotions and spirit. What will drive students through problem-solving, if not the inner spirit to know, the gnashing of emotions to pull through the unknowns of questioning?
So when it comes to teacher buy-in and scaling up, start small. Good learning practices can catch like wildfire.
Professional development should not just consist of learning new programs and using new tools and furniture. It should also be a space where educators have an opportunity for deep reflection on their own learning practices. Asking big questions. Educators need time to wrestle with these questions, and then the freedom to begin cultivating a new culture in their classrooms. To do this once is not enough. Professional development is more effective if it models coaching. Ultimately, good professional development should open up more questions and offer an opportunity to continue honing in on these questions throughout the year.
In the end, we have to ask ourselves, what drives us, what keeps us moving through? And then, with an honest lens, open up to the risks that enable innovation - creating magic in the classroom.