This post was inspired by a recent blog post I read by my pastor’s wife called A Little Understanding: 5 Things You Should Know About Your Pastor.  After reading her thoughts, I got to thinking about things I know about our faculty that other people might not realize. 

We have some amazing teachers at Ravenscroft, and here are just five of the many reasons we are grateful for them:

 1) They work really hard!

Perhaps there are teachers in this world who fit the description of “having an easy job because they only work from 8-3 and they have the summers off.” If so, I haven’t met them, and they certainly don’t work at Ravenscroft. To keep up with Ravenscroft’s high expectations for its faculty, our teachers are working late into the night, on weekends, and in the summer.They have an eight-hour work day that only consists of about 45-60 minutes where they are not charged with some type of supervision of students. This means their planning/preparation, personal breaks, lunch, phone calls, emails, and meetings must all take place within this 45-60 minutes, because the rest of the day they are taking care of the children. Obviously, this is not possible, and hence the reason they are working at night, on the weekends, and in the summers. I try not to take for granted how hard our faculty work. That means remembering to show my gratitude for their hard work and respecting the time they do have for themselves.

2) They are learners, too.

Every teacher at Ravenscroft maintains a Professional Growth Plan that requires them to set personal goals and ensure they are continually learning and growing each year. All established goals are directly related to improving student learning and require teachers to write out detailed action steps needed to accomplish their goals. Many of the action items include attending conferences and workshops on and off campus; observing and collaborating with colleagues at Ravenscroft and other top independent schools; reading books, articles, and blogs; watching videos and webinars; and piloting new resources or instructional strategies. Your teachers are learning and growing each day, too!

3) They are invested in their students’ success beyond their own classrooms.

Teachers at Ravenscroft take on many roles and responsibilities beyond their classroom assignments. We know that in order to successfully prepare students to thrive in a complex and interdependent world, we must provide them with a robust and comprehensive experience at school that requires the involvement of many. Teachers are serving on committees that include Diversity and Inclusion, Faculty Growth and Evaluation, Global Citizenship, Innovation Through Best Practices, and Professional Learning Communities. Teachers are participating in focus groups and meetings across campus to discuss school-wide strategic initiatives. Teachers are sponsoring after-school clubs and activities that include choir, band, orchestra, Science Olympiad, and Student Council. Teachers are attending concerts, plays, athletic events, dance recitals, and many other important performances and events in the lives of their students. Your teachers are invested in much more than just your children’s academic lives here at Ravenscroft.

4) They are not perfect.

We all make mistakes every day. Teachers are no different. What I have come to admire in our faculty is their ability to deal with the inevitability of making mistakes and to use these moments as opportunities for their own learning. As part of Ravenscroft’s citizen-leader framework , we are teaching students to have a growth-mindset and to be willing to embrace setbacks as an inevitable part of growth. That’s easier said than done, and it’s important that our teachers establish the example for them. I know from my own life that when I spend the entire day with my own two children, I am bound to make at least one mistake (if I’m lucky) with regard to the “proper” way of raising children. Teachers are asked to spend at least seven hours a day with 15 to 20 children, and they are charged with overseeing their intellectual development, in addition to keeping an eye on their social, emotional, and physical development. That’s a hefty responsibility. Inevitably, there are times when they will not do everything perfectly. It takes courage to accept that reality and to commit yourself to learning from each experience. We set high expectations for the Lower School faculty. The truth is, however, that they already have high expectations for themselves.

5) They care deeply about their students.

The reason teachers work so hard, invest in students’ lives beyond the classroom, and continually try to learn and grow themselves is because they truly want all your children to be successful as students and people. They challenge their students and hold them accountable for their words and actions because they care about them and want them to reach their full potential as citizen leaders. Teachers stay after school to work with students and offer to partner with them during their free time because they want to do everything possible to support them. Teachers ask about the students’ day, give them hugs, and celebrate their accomplishments because they genuinely care about them as young people traveling on their individual journeys.

 

Take time today to thank your teachers — they are truly amazing!

Thank you, Shanna Lehr for the inspiration!

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