Growing Stronger, Growing Better

Submitted by Ed McManis, Head of School

Making the rounds at the holiday parties, I invariably hear, “Oh, I thought about teaching. That sounds like fun.” And then the casual, “Anyone can do it, right? I mean, what are the qualifications?” At this point, I usually smile and quietly think about the list.

Well, you must be an expert in your discipline; math, science, English.., AND be somewhat literate in other disciplines, especially when you’re subbing and covering other classes. You need to possess an understanding of learning differences; dyslexia to ADHD to ASD to NOS to EIEIO; you need an understanding of pharmacology as it relates to teaching and the brain; you need to understand pedagogical models; be able to address complex social issues including climate change, patriotism, social justice..,be knowledgeable about sexual identity and be up to speed on the current gender pronouns.

Second page: You need to be able to serve as a counselor, mentor, friend; be an expert with technology and how to implement said technology with content standards; you must know what EF is and how to demonstrate and teach it; you must know first aid, when to apply a band-aid or an ice pack, when to push, when to pull, when to ignore, all the while being patient, understanding and demonstrating a positive attitude.  

AND, you need to be able to work collaboratively with others, communicate effectively with parents, peers, professionals, and sometimes teenagers; and most importantly, you need to be able to fix the copier, always reload the paper, and write your name on your lunch bag in the communal fridge. And most importantly, you must know the differences between “your” and “you’re” and “it’s” and its.”  
We won’t talk about pay. Tough job. 

Being a teacher means constantly working on your craft. When Sterne teachers come on board, we provide essential training. This includes summer training, mentoring, workshops, and one-to-one collaboration with master teachers.  We start with two weeks of summer training and orientation, and continue training throughout the year. Teachers work with a peer mentor and also with an administrative mentor. This includes discussing lesson plans, classroom observations, and designing curriculum. In addition to our internal professional development programming, teachers take advantage of a variety of outside PD opportunities (local, national, and international). Here are a few examples of professional development opportunities that teachers have participated in this year: 
•    Tattum Reading (Sterne’s specialized reading program)
•    IXL (Online Math and English)
•    Creating Inclusive Meetings that Matter
•    Academy for SEL (Social Emotional Learning)
•    Wired Differently
•    NNTOY (National Network of State Teachers of the Year)
•    Rainforest Kit Training at the Academy of Sciences
•    The Lost Art of Teaching Spelling at San Francisco State
•    The National Geographic Teacher Certification Program
•    Addressing Microaggressions in PK-12 Settings through the National Association of School Psychologists 
•    Assistive Technology for Math Issues through Understood.org
•    Self Regulation and Mindfulness Strategies for Special Ed. Students through ernweb.com
•    Equals Math and Universal Design Training hosted at Sterne 
•    Executive Function Training through the Children's Health Council 
•    Teachers also chose from the following books to read over the summer:
-Hacking Project Based Learning by Ross Cooper and Erin Murph
-Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown
-Promoting Executive Function in the Classroom by Lynn Meltzer
-What School Could Be: Insights and Inspiration from Teachers Across America by Ted Dintersmith  

Additionally, Ms. Myers, in anticipation of her new role as Sterne’s new Head of School, completed the NAIS Aspiring Head Fellowship. This year-long mentorship program placed candidates in a cohort of five other Aspiring Heads in which each cohort was charged with developing and presenting a research project of their choosing at the annual NAIS conference. Participants in the Fellowship also attended a summer and winter institute that included workshops spanning topics like strategic planning and initiatives, capital campaign, teacher retention, and admissions and outreach. Ms. Myers and her cohort presented at the NAIS conference in 2019, and plan to present again at the NAIS conference 2020 on an additional research project they self-directed, Leave a Legacy as Unique as Your School: Powerful Strategies for Alumni Engagement.

We’d also like to recognize and applaud Nicole Greene, who just completed her National Board Teacher certification. This is the highest level of certification you can accomplish in the country. Only 3% of US Teachers are awarded this certification. Congratulations to Ms. Greene. 

We are very proud of our teachers and their dedication to the profession. As an educator you are always learning and working to improve your skills. Over the break I’ll geek out and catch up on the latest research regarding reading. And for the new year, my resolution will be to make sure I re-fill the copy paper-tray after each use.