Dr. Justin Tarte is one of the most influential people I follow on Twitter. He continuously shares relevant material that both reinforces and challenges my thinking. If you don’t mind, Justin, I would like to borrow this powerful quote you shared as part of some very important work I will be carrying out over the next few days. My plan is to visit a number of teachers in my district to personally present them with their continuous contract. A contract they have earned over the last number of months. One that has been recommended by the principal of their school after a year of formal and informal observations. They have, in no small way, proven themselves to be the kind of teacher we are ready to commit to for the rest of their career and I want to remind them that this is a big deal. After visiting their classroom and observing them teaching one final time this year, not only do I plan to present them with a copy of Justin’s quote, I will share a few other thoughts as well:
- We are offering you this contract because we see you as a forward thinking and innovative teacher who will do whatever is necessary to help your students experience success.
- We are offering you this contract because you are a risk-taker, always pushing the envelope with your teaching.
- We are offering you this contract because you have a growth mindset.
- We are offering you this contract because it is evident that you see the value in collaboration, constantly building your own capacity and that of your colleagues.
- We are offering you this contract because you have shown us that you know how to meet the needs of all learners, making the learning experience relevant to them.
- I encourage you to continue the development of your digital portfolio. It will assist you in identifying areas in which you excel as well as areas in which you could continue to grow. It will also provide you with a body of evidence on which you can continuously reflect.
- We are offering you this contract because it is obvious that you love children, and that they love you.
- We’re counting on you and so are your students.
I could have sent the contract out via our inter-school mail system, but I want each of them to know that the decision to offer a continuous contract is a very difficult one that requires a great deal of conversation and reflection. So I’m going to take the time to go to them. As Superintendent Karl Germann says, it is like offering “a million dollar contract.”
As I near the end of my first year in the role of Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources I’ve come to see this as my most important work – inviting the very best teachers to become permanent members of our district family. I hope they will never forget why.