Keystone’s teachers are constantly learning, too
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Observing Keystone faculty/staff members in ordinary times inspires me. They challenge and support students inside and outside the classroom. Whether it’s introducing a new concept in class, having a one-on-one conversation with a young person who may be struggling, guiding them from one place to another, or throwing a frisbee or playing spikeball with them in the Quad, they demonstrate their compassion and concern for them as students and as people.
Over the past two years, my respect for the adults who work at Keystone has grown exponentially. They have adapted to teaching remotely, with masks in person, and even making concurrent learning work.
Here at Keystone, we talk about the importance of continuous learning, and our staff has embodied that admirably.
For this reason, professional development and in-service days like today, Friday, February 11, may be more crucial than ever. Study after study has shown that the best teachers continue to learn and refine their craft. They research new trends in their field, whether it’s in the content they teach or new findings in pedagogy. While it may seem obvious, it cannot be mentioned enough that one of the most crucial components of a child’s success in school is the effectiveness of the teacher.
A paper by Hayes Mizell called “Why Professional Development Matters” articulates this point well. ”Research confirms that the most important factor contributing to a student’s success in school is the quality of teaching. While parents may not be familiar with the research, they are united in their desire to ensure great teaching for every child every day. Professional development is the most effective strategy schools and school districts have to meet this expectation.”
As in other professional fields, teachers and staff members gain expertise and further their enthusiasm by learning from colleagues and finding new ways to practice their craft. Whether it’s attending a conference or meeting with fellow teachers, when people have time to think critically, explore new ideas, and engage in dialogue with other passionate and excellent educators, the students ultimately benefit.
Probably all of us can recall a teacher who had a profound impact on our lives. Repeatedly, we hear from current Keystone students and alumni about teachers who encouraged them to pursue a certain topic or explore a field of study. Keystone parents often tell me how their children excitedly discuss a certain teacher at the dinner table or how a class enabled them to see the world anew.
Many former Cobras say that they decided to major in a field based on their experience at Keystone. While at college or in the workplace, alumni may point to a Keystone teacher who they still seek out for advice or conversation.
One of the reasons that Keystone faculty and staff members shine stems from their desire to grow and develop. At the same time they are teaching, they are learning. As a result, they enrich their ability to work with young people, and the entire community strengthens.