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How transparent should our profession be?

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November 2011

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How transparent should educators be?  Very.

Transparency is more than just a buzzword or the name of an ancient instructional tool (Vis a Vis markers anyone?).  Teachers have long been encouraged to be more transparent in their teaching/learning goals for the day by telling the students what the learning objective is, and even posting the related standards on the board.  They are supposed to send home regular newsletters, update class websites, and hold parent/teacher conferences.  Principals can show up to do walk-throughs or longer observations at any time.  Throw in regular teacher-teacher collaboration at PLCs, and transparency for teachers is almost a moot subject.

Sometimes I think administrators don’t have to adhere to the same levels of transparency that teachers do.  Administrators can be transparent by creating authentic relationships with all stakeholders.  If they are good leaders they will include teachers and support staff in their ideas, planning, and vision for the school/district.  They will share triumphs, as well as challenges.  They will work to defeat the “us vs. them” mentality existent among too many teachers and administrators.  School and district leaders need to be accessible to the public, as well, and openly communicate (which involves listening and speaking) goals, progress, and missions.

We need to be transparent to build trust, to create a learning partnership, and to foster innovation and best practices.  Throw away those old transparencies (and the markers), but make education more transparent by all and for all.

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