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Blog: Thursday, April 12th, 2018

The Power of Youthful Thinking

Until recently, I considered myself one of the “young” people on staff (those of you who know me are probably chuckling). I suppose the fact that our staff was one of the oldest in the district allowed me to hang on to this delusion a few extra years. But, no longer. We have had a much-needed injection of youth into our ranks and now it is clear that I am not young (let’s say I’m in the middle group). In total, we have about a dozen people that are either newer educators or new to our building — this is a big shift for us at Yale Secondary.

With these young educators come a host of positives — energy, enthusiasm, innovation, flexibility — all to the benefit of our students. Of course, inexperience brings some challenges as well, but these are easily overcome if we work as a team to support each other.

This year, I have the privilege of working closely with a handful of newer teachers through a mentorship program we call our “Learning Teams”. My team is made up of 5 younger teachers and 5 more experienced teachers, and we meet regularly to collaborate on new technologies, inquiry learning, differentiated instruction, and more.

Each of our young people is working on at least one specific area of practice, and our learning team strives to be a mechanism that supports and encourages that growth. Of course, improvement is contagious, and I find myself wanting to adopt the innovations that these young educators are implementing.

In that way, this model of mentorship has a benefit to our entire school — not only does it support our new staff members, but it cultivates a spirit of growth among everyone. For our team members, the team has become a place to ask questions, get feedback on new ideas, and laugh about our mistakes. Most importantly for me, it is a place to feed off the energy and positive attitudes that our young people bring to the building.

Teacher, Yale Secondary School