Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers (ECET2) conferences have been popping up all over the country in both national and regional capacities. Locally, two (check out live blogs here and here) ECET2 Puget Sound events have hosted almost 200 of the area’s most effective teacher leaders in an effort to provide an opportunity for them to collaborate in the spirit of authentic professional learning. What makes me most proud of being part of such an innovative movement is one simple thing: the key ingredients that go into making an ECET2 boil down to doing what is best for kids and teachers. Because of these ingredients, these core values, ECET2 is unlike any professional learning opportunity I have experienced. That is why I am so passionate about others experiencing it as well.
Teacher Leadership & Collaboration
Teachers are the experts in their field. They possess a wealth of knowledge and skills regarding classroom instruction and have the opportunity to practice what works and recognize what doesn’t in real time each and every day. Historically, there weren’t too many options for teachers who wanted to be leaders in their buildings or districts without going the administration route. Over the past few years, the emergence of various hybrid roles and teacher leadership ladders, where educators can teach and lead at the same time, have vastly transformed leadership paths.
On August 11th, at our second ECET2 Puget Sound event, an emphasis was placed on highlighting the many different leadership journeys that teachers in our region have taken through conversations at colleague circles and sessions focused on teacher leadership. As teachers, we should be learning from each other. Because of emerging leadership opportunities, many educators have the opportunity to mentor and coach their colleagues while continuing to hone their own teaching skills. When I am receiving professional development from those who are still authentically connected to the work being done in the classroom, I am more engaged in the content because of its validity and relevance.
Spreading Best Practice
It is unbelievably refreshing to sit down at a table with a teacher from New York (or California, Washington DC, Kentucky, etc…) a national ECET2 and be able to share resources and strategies grounded in the same learning standards, as if we were teaching in the same state. We are experiencing a very exciting time in education. What a gift we have with the Common Core to be able to use the same language with other educators when it comes to discussing what our students should know and be able to do in order to be successful in college, career, and community.
At ECET2 Puget Sound, teacher presenters were asked to make connections not only to new standards in learning (CCSS) but also help participants make connections to their new standards in teaching (TPEP). Whether it be with a teacher across the country, or one on the other side of the city as you, Common Core State Standards allow for a continuity in instruction that we’ve never had before and ECET2 events provide the time and place for teacher leaders to come together with this common language in effort to spread the highest quality and most effective teaching practices.
Honoring and Celebrating Teachers
This ECET2 ingredient holds a special place in my heart. Perhaps a focus on teacher leadership and collaboration, and spreading best practice can be found at other educator convenings; however I’ve been hard-pressed to find anything that celebrates and honors teachers the way ECET2 does. For being the profession that makes all other professions possible, it’s amazing how the work that we do so often goes unrecognized. When planning an ECET2 event, great care goes in to making sure teachers feel honored, respected, and empowered. This year, ECET2 Puget Sound was held at the beautiful UW Center for Urban Horticulture. Attendees were treated to amazing student performances, thoughtful notes from kids, delicious food and a gorgeous setting. I can promise you we didn’t choose to be teachers for the fame and fortune, but a little recognition goes a long way.
With an emphasis on collaboration, a focus on intentionality in the classroom through best practices embedded with high-quality standards, and attention to those little details that make teachers feel special, the ECET2 movement is truly fostering ground-breaking work lead by talented teacher leaders.
Get connected: Join the ECET2 national network every Sunday night during the school year for the #ECET2 Twitter Chat at 5:00PST