A Culture of Curiosity

The new school year is upon us. School buildings that sat silent for months are now alive with activity. Administrators are perfecting schedules and planning every detail of staff professional development. Teachers are setting up furniture, organizing books, materials, and meticulously decorating their classrooms. Countless other staff members are bustling around the building preparing for the day when students walk through the doors to begin a new school year. 

It is also the time for teachers and staff to attend professional development in preparation for the new school year. There is what seems like an eternity of presentations on topics covered every single year. On top of that, you have new curriculum and programs to learn…it can all feel so very overwhelming! After all, I just got all the new stuff from last year mastered. Sometimes, we can only think about getting this over with because there’s so much to do in our classrooms. Let’s face it, there’s a very clear rule for teacher development, DON’T DARE ASK QUESTIONS that will prolong this. Those who do ask questions are met with mean stares and sighs of disbelief. What if we flipped the script on that? Remember Kelly Corrigan’s graduation speech from last week’s blog? She encourages us to stop and ask questions “because everyone, everywhere has stories to tell you and things to teach you”. I know this seems completely crazy, but what if we just slowed down and focused on the new information? What if we ask a few questions and embrace that person who asks a lot of questions? We want our students to be curious and to understand what they are learning. Why can’t we, as their teachers and administrators, do the same? We all have so much to learn from each other!

We have always heard the phrase “curiosity killed the cat,” but did you know there’s more? The full phrase is “curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.” We can certainly look at being inquisitive as a “killer” of time when we have so many things to do before school begins, but we could also have the satisfaction that we did indeed learn something new from our colleagues’ curiosity. 

I encourage you this year to be curious. If your students aren’t grasping a concept the way you’re teaching it, look for a new way to reach them. If staff members aren’t meeting deadlines or just seem to be struggling with something, pay attention, ask questions. Challenge yourself and your staff to learn something new, expand your horizons outside the classroom. Give your students and staff opportunities to explore. Perhaps instead of answering all their questions, you can give them tools to find the answers themselves. Be curious and inspire those around you to do the same. It will be so rewarding!

How do you foster a culture of curiosity on your campus? Let us know in the comments!

Sabrina Valverde is an educator, entrepreneur, educational trainer/consultant, and published author. She is a fiercely passionate advocate for children and has worked in many settings to foster an environment where all children can succeed. Sabrina holds a Master’s of Education in Instructional Leadership and believes that equipping teachers with the best curriculum, resources, and professional development is the cornerstone to student achievement.

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