How did five 2016 state teachers of the year find success by pushing students to take risks and rise to the occasion? And–can similar strategies be used with preservice teachers–those enrolled in teacher prep programs–and first year teachers to help them become more successful now and in the future?
These terms, and others like them, can often describe what helps some teachers succeed in the classroom, and what contributes to others failing. They are often referred to as professional dispositions–soft skills that are essential to educator success, yet typically not easily taught or measured.
We certainly need to help our P-12 students develop these traits, but equally important we must mentor our teacher candidates in them as well. After all, in order to teach skills to others we must know and be able to do them ourselves. That’s why I believe so strongly in identifying a comprehensive list of the most essential professional dispositions for successful teachers to possess–and from that list I believe schools of education should create ways to identify and select teacher candidates who demonstrate a propensity for success in part via evidence of those dispositions.
I would love to engage in a research and development project with state and national teachers of the year–I want to find out what those high-performing educators think are the most crucial dispositions for new teachers to have–and I want to build an instrument to identify and measure them. Anyone interested in joining me on this professional journey? If so, please reach out to me.