As teachers, we see them at least once a year when we are handed our handbooks. In my district, we sit as a building and comb through the student handbook making correction or updates as we see fit from year to year. We read our high school mission statement every year, and do change it on average about every four years. Just little tweeks. Then what? I put the book away, and that is that. I do not reflect on it anymore.
In the book Start. Right. Now. the authors state that “truly exceptional teachers and leaders walk the talk, exhibiting behaviors that are consistent with their beliefs” (Whitaker et al 4).
HOW CAN I WALK THE TALK?
We have a great mission statement. How can I make that more visible to myself and my students? I designed a poster to hang in my room for starters.
OK, now what? It was time to reflect on the rest of my teaching environment. Why do I teach? Why do kids come to school? Why do we have schools? Through this process I developed my personal mission and a department mission statement.
I am a single person agriculture program, so I did not collaborate with colleagues on this. However, if you are a multi person department, this would be a great activity for you to work on together.
KEEP IT REAL
I recommend watching this video on How to Write a Mission Statement that Doesn’t Suck. I know we are all educated and can write some NICE statements, but it is so easy to get caught up in using fancy verbiage and lose sight of the target.
I intend to post these in my classroom where myself and my students can see them everyday. I also plan to make time at least once a month to reflect on these topics. After time we will not notice the poster that hasn’t changed and walk right by it. Scheduling time to talk about our mission, and assess if I am walking the talk will keep me focused.
As we go into summer, this may be a topic you want to bring back up at the start of the school year.