Inspired by Roland Barth and other authors who argue that the answers to school improvement lie within their own walls, I decided to highlight the expertise and leadership in our school by interviewing experienced master teachers and publishing those interviews in the bi-weekly staff professional development newsletter. These teachers were asked about what inspired them to become educators; their training and experience; their reflections on what they have learned from their students over the course of their careers; highly effective instructional strategies they have used or developed; how they would be willing to help other teachers incorporate those strategies. Teachers who had worked at the school longest also shared important historical perspectives about the school. These interviews have served to: honor outstanding teacher’s experience and expertise; increase respect and camaraderie among the staff; provide background and history about the school for new teachers; introduce effective strategies that work with our high needs population; inspire others with stories of how and why bright and accomplished colleagues chose teaching as a calling. This strategy could easily be replicated in schools that don’t have an on-site professional developer by creating a template asking teachers to reflect on those questions and sharing with the staff at ongoing staff meeting or by interviewing teachers across the district and highlighting them in district newsletters or podcasts.
Idea No. 392