Byron's Babbles

Teacher of the Year Learning!

Posted in Coaching, Education, Education Reform, Leadership by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on September 12, 2014


This week I had the honor of serving on the Top 10 Interview Committee for the 2015 Indiana Teacher of the Year. I say honor for two reasons: 1. Because I served with nine other fellow Indiana Teachers of the Year; and, 2. I learned from the 10 candidates we interviewed. This post really has nothing to do with the Teacher of the Year process, but is about what I learned from the candidates and the reflecting I did during the interviews about my own journey in education.


I had the chance to really think about my personal mission as an educator to use rigor, relevance, and relationships to be a steward of high student performance and achievement. From a rigor standpoint we have to remember that acquiring information is not enough, the student has to be able to do something with it.

Relevance is also very important in the equation of highly effective teaching. We know that students are myopic in their vision; they need to be more global. We need to ensure an experience that is rigorous and facilitates learning of global citizenship. This also allows us to facilitate the school and students in developing “community enhancement projects.” These are the projects like cultural events that not only benefit the school, but are a huge benefit to the community.

As educators we need to be “vending machines of knowledge!” Having said that, relationship building with the students is very important. We must get to know the students as individuals, so we can challenge them the way that is best for them! This enables us to learn along-side the students. This relationship building is so important. If we go a little where the students are going , they will go a little where we are going!


Because we are not all linear in the type of students who come to us, our view of teacher effectiveness and highly effective facilitation of learning has had to evolve as well. We have advanced to a time of using data to drive our instruction. We are also using constructive, not destructive evaluation systems. It is really about coaching, observing, and providing feedback for our teachers to become all they can be. Regular and frequent walkthroughs now allow us the “touchtime” necessary to really hone in and coach teachers on one to two areas at a time for improvement.

While I realize there is so much room for improvement in our educational system, I am so excited about all the great things that are happening. I was also reminded in the presence of great teachers why I am on this education leadership journey!

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  1. […] take personal notes that I use for my own professional growth. Last year I wrote a post entitled Teacher of the Year Learning and this year I thought I would do the same. For this year’s post I am going to provide you a […]


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