The Importance of the Yankee Mindset

Jul 21, 2014 | by Janice Smith

yankees-v-baltimore-orioles copy

Here we are, mid-July (and mid-baseball season).  In most cases we don’t have students in our classrooms yet, though some of you lucky ones have already gotten to welcome them back for those first weeks of summer school. Either way, we’re certainly all thinking about the year ahead, and the students that will soon be there. So this seems like the perfect time to take a small step back, and think about the mindsets that are crucial for both student success as well as teacher success.  I love this clip because it provides a slight twist on the traditional conversation around humility.  Humility is definitely a trait we have heard discussed most often this year when asking school leaders about the most important teacher mindsets.  Yet in this clip Eric Sanchez, the Co-Founder and School Leader of Henderson Collegiate, pushes us to also consider the important role that confidence has in finding joy in our work, continuing to excel at what we’re doing well, and creating a sustainable career in the classroom. Take a look…

What We Love Most…

  • The recognition of the personal aspect of the job.  Anyone who’s taught knows that it is impossible to not take student failure (even small, temporary failure) personally.  Yet the best teachers I know never claim credit for the successes of their students, instead giving all the credit to the students.  Recognizing the imbalance of that is important in finding ways as school leaders and coaches to recognize our staff for the victories they might not take credit for on their own.
  • “We’re always getting feedback that tells us we need to get better.  I’m not just talking about from coaches… I’m talking about from a student who gives a wrong answer.”  Sometimes the most important feedback to consider when reflecting on our instruction is the feedback we’re getting every minute in the classroom from our students.  The nuances of their wrong answers (what exactly is the misconception they just revealed to me, and can I reflect to figure out where it came from), their posture and energy, their comments to one another and to us as their teachers, and most importantly what they’re producing at the end of our lessons, our units and the year.
  • When I got feedback in the classroom I always loved the Start Doing/Keep Doing/Stop Doing format.  It helped me identify the small things I should stop immediately, suggestions for what I could start, and perhaps most importantly what I should KEEP doing.  We often forget this part in coaching, and it’s important to recognize it’s not just about feeling good.  It’s about continuing to stay good at the things you’re doing well.  With all our attention focused on what we should start or stop, it can be easy to drop those pieces that are really working.  The added benefit is you also get to feel good about all the things that are going well 🙂
  • His thoughts on being part of a winning team.  So many of our schools are doing incredible things for students.  Recognizing and celebrating them out loud, and OFTEN, is a huge part of shaping the identity not just of individual teachers but of your team of teachers.  I was once told that as the teacher it was my job to narrate for others exactly what was happening in the room.  For many of them, what they heard from me was all they knew about what was happening around them.  If I am only correcting negative behavior, then the assumption can quickly become that nobody is doing what they’re supposed to.  On the flip side, if I narrated only the positive things I saw they begin to feel that everyone is excelling and their view becomes more positive.  For students (and people) who like the taste of success this can be powerful in creating momentum and building a positive culture that finds a whole lot more wins.
  • The powerful team of Humility & Confidence.  The idea that one without the other is actually not a winning combo for your classroom effectiveness, or your lifelong career in education.


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