I have a friend who has a green thumb. Her garden wins her town’s annual most beautiful garden award almost every year. But she would tell you that having a green thumb is an euphemism for careful research, planning, and planting, plus daily feeding and watering. People admire her garden and assume that she naturally and magically grows her flowers and plants. The truth is that her flowers and plants grow because of all the hours of intentional work she does behind the scenes.
How do students grow? Research indicates that great teachers have the most influence on student growth. So, if great teachers influence student flourishing, what makes a great teacher great?
Certainly, teaching is a calling enabled by God-given talent. However, like my friend the award winning gardener, great teachers would tell you that growing student learning requires careful planning that informs learning, but planning is not enough. A “green thumb” gardener knows plants still will not grow without the right amount of fertilizer and fresh water. Similarly, great teachers know they must use curriculum and resources as fresh water and fertilizer to grow students.
Eastern Christian recognizes that in order to engage and nurture our students our teachers need a full aquifer of fresh curriculum and an ample supply of plentiful resources. Over the past year we have been working diligently on gathering and maintaining our curriculum reservoir as well as examining our supply of resources. This ongoing task is no small job.
Over the summer, our reservoir of curriculum, collected through careful mapping of all the complex components of how and what we teach during the school year, has been uploaded into a software program. This software program organizes the overwhelming mass of curriculum data in a format that will, now, allow us to analyze, align and focus the curriculum.
Just as a flourishing garden needs a gardener who provides fresh water and the right fertilizer, a school that desires to see its students flourish needs great teachers who draw from well designed curricula and appropriate resources.