The latest news from AAEE
By Paul Berggren
There’s nothing as harmful to the success of a company than employees who sit on the sideline, too disengaged or intimated to contribute.
How do you overcome this problem and create a culture where everyone feels comfortable contributing?
If you lead a team where employees seem hesitant to collaborate and share their thoughts, it’s time to take a deeper look at why this is happening and how to overcome it.
If a sports team consistently underperforms, one big loss after another, team owners might adjust the lineup or find new starters. But more often than not, they start by firing the coach.
If your employees are acting like spectators, disengaged, and non-collaborative, it’s easy to point fingers. But what if your employees aren’t the root of the problem?
The ultimate responsibility for team engagement falls on the leader.
It’s your responsibility as a leader to develop your culture and employees. If you’re struggling to build an engaged team, you might need to take a hard look at your expectations, processes, and leadership.
How do you own your role and use it to create engaged, collaborative employees? It starts by defining your purpose.
Is your purpose as a leader to manage the process or coach your team? If your goal is to help people get better, you will act differently than if your main focus is to get things done. Managers focus on accomplishing tasks; leaders focus on helping their team use their strengths to multiply productivity. While all leaders must also be good managers, not all managers are good leaders.
Ask yourself: What is my purpose as a leader? Do I live that out every day?
Good leaders ask questions. Poor managers make statements. If you want to collaborate but already have your final solution in mind, you’ll miss the opportunity to get feedback and improve the idea while earning the trust of your team.
It takes humility to realize you might not have all the answers. By asking questions and really listening to employees, you’ll have better ideas and have a more engaged, collaborative environment. But if you aren’t willing to change your strategy based on their feedback, you’re missing the mark.
A few questions to ask:
- What do we need to do?
- How does this relate to our goal?
- What’s the root cause of this issue?
- How can we get where we want to go?
- Tell me more about your idea.
A coach brings out the talent of their team, challenging them and helping them grow. Act as a coach and lead your team toward collaboration by listening first, then asking good questions.
The next step to building an engaged team is looking at your current employees. Who on your team not only believes in collaboration but does it well? They should be your benchmark or “star player” as you look to hire and develop more employees.
For example, if Joe in HR is always asking questions, encouraging feedback, and building rapport with other team members, how can you empower him to continue and then hire more people like Joe? Take the time to ask questions about his thought process. What does Joe value in his work that makes him collaborate? What does he avoid that keeps him open to feedback?
Identify what makes someone a star player for your team and look for more people with the same mindset and motivation.
You can invest heavily in your game plan and create the best process to accomplish your goals, but process strength alone isn’t enough to succeed. If you see people as a pawn in the game, hindering you from running the perfect play, you will end up overlooking their strengths.
A game plan is pointless without the team to run the plays. To bring out the best in your team, you have to know them and their strengths. Ask yourself:
Many managers focus their time and energy on process strength. While it’s an essential component, your team will be discouraged and disengaged if your focus is entirely on the process. Additionally, your organization will only be “getting by” instead of excelling. You might feel like you have momentum, but it’s slow compared to what it could be.
Invest in the strength of both your processes and your people, and you will see your company excel and reap the benefits.
By investing in both processes and people, you can work to get your team off the sideline and out on the field. It starts with how you make decisions.
Bring employees into the planning process before a final decision is made and the process is set. If you don’t, people will become disengaged, realizing that their opinion doesn’t truly matter.
Take it a step deeper and encourage your team to build a collaborative culture together. What matters to your team and organization? Where do you want to be in five or ten years? What roadblocks will keep you from reaching those goals?
Build a team instead of an organization full of spectators. Include people in all stages of the decision-making process. Build a safe environment where employees are encouraged to offer their opinions. You’ll be rewarded with a team that’s fully engaged and wants to succeed.
- Paul Berggren is President of Crown Global HR, bringing clarity to the complex world of hiring, based in Lincoln, NE. paul@CrownGlobalHR.com
Let AAEE help turns your ideas into reality. The American Association for Employment in Education is proud to announce the AAEE Mini-Grant Program. This program is designed to highlight and support innovative efforts by school districts to improve the pipeline of teachers into their districts and into the profession.
Eligible projects are those that engage and encourage middle or high school-aged students to explore the possibility of a career in teaching.
Want more details? Visit our Mini-Grant site to find eligibility, requirements, and general procedure.
Does your district have a new or existing project that could use some extra funding? Apply today!
The American Association for Employment in Education (AAEE) has signed onto a letter, organized by the Association of American Educators Foundation, sent to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and leaders in Congress calling for their help in addressing the lack of teacher diversity in our nation’s classrooms. The letter, citing federal data and university studies, reports that 53 percent of public school students are children of color, while only 18 percent of teachers identify as a person of color. Studies reveal this disparity causes overall lower student achievement and outcomes, especially in populations of at-risk students and students of color.
The letter states, “We believe that increasing teacher diversity elevates the teaching profession and improves the lives and outcomes of all students,” and calls on all parties involved to play a role in addressing the problem. The letter volunteers the services of the undersigned organizations to help Congress and the Department of Education to determine how proposed regulations and legislation may increase or decrease teacher diversity. More than seventy-five education organizations representing teachers, preservice teachers, school counselors, education staff, principals, superintendents, charter school leaders, education reformers, tutors, and teacher educators have signed the letter.
AAEE Executive Director, Tim Neubert stated, “Teaching is not currently an attractive career path for many persons of color, to the detriment of students in our schools. If we want to provide the highest-quality education system in this country, we must work together to address the reasons why.”
The American Association for Employment in Education is focused on positively impacting education through professional connections. With the full support of its board of directors, AAEE is proud to join this coalition of organizations from across the country in highlighting the need to increase teacher diversity, and taking an active role in efforts to prepare, recruit, and retain a diverse teacher population through intentional, long-term, and widespread efforts. AAEE’s efforts will be reflected through our membership, events, resources, scholarship programs, partnerships, and advocacy, consistent with our purposes to:
More information, including the full letter text, list of signatories, articles and studies cited in the letter, is available at aaeteachers.org/diversity.
Want the demographics of teachers (and administrators) in your schools to reflect the demographics of your student body? Consider these steps to develop your students into your future generation of teachers:
By, Tim Neubert
Tim Neubert is the Executive Director of the American Association for Employment of Education, a national non-profit based in Sycamore, Illinois. AAEE is focused on positively impacting education through professional connections, providing resources and activities for institutions and individuals involved in teacher preparation, recruitment, and retention.
The American Association for Employment in Education (AAEE), an organization which promotes professional standards and practices in teacher preparation and job recruitment, recognizes a national shortage of candidates preparing for careers in certain teaching fields. This scholarship program is designed to address this need, providing a $1,000 award to a student studying in an area of critical need. Learn more about this annual scholarship by visiting our Critical Need Teacher Scholarship page.
AAEE is proud to present this year’s Janice S. Jones Scholarships to Miss Allison Moga of Winona State University and to Miss Haley MacInerney from the University of Iowa.
Allison Moga, originally from Royalton, Minnesota is currently pursuing a dual degree in Spanish Education and Teaching English as a Second Language with a double minor in Music and Bilingual/Bicultural Education from Winona State University. Currently, she is studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina in an effort to increase her knowledge about the Spanish language and culture. She intends to bring all the rich ideas, traditions, skills, and cherished experiences that she has acquired through volunteering, studying, and traveling to various countries to eventually inspire and connect with her future students.
Haley is from Peosta, Iowa. She is double majoring in Spanish and Foreign Language education at the University of Iowa with an aspiration of obtaining her ESL endorsement post-graduation. Previously, she has studied and interned in Santiago, Chile and fell in love with Latin America. She will graduate in Spring 2020 and hopes to teach English in Latin America for a few years and then return to the states to teach Spanish; bringing with her the rich cultural and language knowledge to share in her classroom. She hopes to bring the passion and excitement for languages and cultures into each of her students' lives by making the language classroom an immersive experience.
The Janice S. Jones Scholarship Fund was established to honor the memory of Janice Jones, the 2002-2003 President of AAEE. Janice was a lifelong resident of Evanston, Illinois. Dedicated to the Evanston community, she began teaching Special Education. An ardent proponent of quality education for all, she was well known for her lifelong advocacy of services for students with special needs. She was also recognized as an outstanding mentor for minority students studying to become teachers. Janice was a consummate professional who exemplified the values of AAEE. The scholarship fund that bears her name exists to carry on her tradition of excellence in education and leadership. Its goal is to support emerging educators who have demonstrated promise and commitment, just as these two future educators have done.
The scholarship committee is inspired by their passion and dedication to the field of teaching. We wish both of our recipients all the best as they continue to complete their degrees and begin promising careers in education.
Congratulations to Allison and Haley!
In partnership with Upbeat, AAEE invites you to apply for the new National Working Group on Teacher Retention.
AAEE Members receive a significant discount on Upbeat services!
What is the Upbeat Survey?
The Upbeat Survey is a carefully crafted and validated engagement survey designed specifically for K-12 education that uncovers actionable insights and trends around 21 key factors correlated with teacher engagement and retention.
How Does it Work?
If you have questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Upbeat directly at email@example.com.
Fill out their "I'm Interested" form here!
Be part of a prospective teacher's journey by contributing your knowledge and experience to them in the 2020 edition of the Job Search Handbook for Educators. Each year, the Job Search Handbook (JSH) falls into the hands of thousands of prospective educators preparing to enter the profession. Our JSH is designed to act as a guide as they enter the world of teaching.
We invite you to be part of this journey by submitting an article for publication in the 2020 AAEE Job Search Handbook for Educators!
The deadline for submissions is Friday, February 15, 2019.
We are currently seeking articles related to the following topics:
We welcome data-supported articles that are written in a conversational format. To-Do Lists, Top Ten Lists, FAQs, and/or quizzes are all excellent formats for JSH articles. Think about how you would present this information to prospective educators if you were addressing them in person.
We hope you will consider being part of this wonderful publication that reaches and impacts thousands of prospective teachers each year. If you would like to submit your article, upload the information to our Google Doc. Find out more about our JSH by visiting the Job Search Handbook tab on our website.
As a first year teacher, I woke up on the morning of my first day of school feeling an odd mix of emotions--intense excitement and sheer terror. The thought that kept running through my mind was, “It will just be me in there! It will just be me in there!” This recurring thought has both negative and positive connotations. I’ll start with the negative.
Going through the credentialing program, I was still a student. The very purpose of the student teaching semester is to grow under the watchful eye of a mentor teacher, and my mistakes had minimal repercussions. Even though student teaching was hard work, there was a huge difference between being the student teacher and the teacher. Although I was stepping into a classroom, it wasn’t my classroom, and these were not fully my students. Ultimately, there was an experienced veteran in the room, and I was always aware that if I looked to her for help, she would be there to rescue me.
As a student teacher, I did not have to respond to parent emails, create and implement a behavior management plan, or do report cards. Although I was teaching, I was not yet a teacher. I enjoyed a safety net that would soon disappear. The transition to being a first year teacher meant that I no longer had that person I could look to during a failing lesson. All the pressure, stress, planning, grading, and exhaustion would be mine. However, the successes of 27 unique little human beings would be mine, too.
Here come the positives!
Although the job of a teacher comes with stress, it also comes with a classroom and students to call your own. As a first year teacher, the first day of school is scary, but it is also the most incredible day--the day you get to meet the children who will forever live in your heart. I used to wonder how my teachers could remember my name years after I had left their classrooms. I now understand that they remembered my name because students affect the lives of their teachers just as powerfully as teachers impact the lives of their students. I refer to the students I teach as “my kids,” and even on the most challenging days, I cannot stop talking about them or thinking about them.
Transitioning to a first year teacher requires preparation for days that just go wrong. These difficult days may happen frequently during the first few years. However, there will also be days with the joy of a having a student say, “I love you”, or “You’re the best teacher ever.” You won’t be able to prepare yourself for the pride you will feel when a student has an epiphany because of something you said or an activity you did. You definitely will not be able to anticipate the number of times your students will make you laugh in the middle of class. Your first year of teaching will not be all sunshine and rainbows. It may be much harder than you expect. Please know that those tough days are absolutely worth it.
Tips from a first year teacher:
As I approach the conclusion of my second year as a first grade teacher, I can confidently say that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. During my second year of teaching, I’ve felt more confident, calm, organized, and efficient. I cannot explain how much better I feel. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t difficult, but that’s just the nature of this career. Each year will have different challenges.
Tips from a second year teacher:
The transition from student to teacher is not an easy one. You may be exhausted, cranky, and sometimes overwhelmed. You will also smile more than you ever have before because you have a class full of learners that are yours to teach. Teach them math, reading, writing, and other academics, but also teach them to be kind, to never give up, and to love others and themselves. If you do this, you will have successfully made the transition from student to teacher.
Our 85th Annual AAEE Conference and Education Career Fair was a hit! Thank you to all attendees and volunteers that made this event special.
If you have any comments on your experience at AAEE 2018, please send them to us! We love to have as much feedback as we can to use for next year.
Want to see photos from the event? Visit our AAEE 2018 Event Page!
We are Heading to Norfolk, VA for AAEE 2019!
Mark your calendars now! AAEE is heading to Norfolk, VA October 22-24, 2019 for our 86th Annual Conference and Education Career Fair. Would you like to be part of the planning process? Volunteer to be on the Conference Planning Committee! Contact President-Elect Daphne Donaldson for more information.
The countdown to AAEE 2018 has begun! As festivities approach, we would like to introduce you to another talent AAEE 2018 Keynote Speaker. Meet Dr. Sharonica Hardin-Bartley.
Sharonica Hardin-Bartley serves as superintendent in The School District of University City, a role she began on July 1, 2016. Hardin-Bartley is charged with serving 2,800 students and more than 400 teachers and staff.
Hardin-Bartley brings a hands-on approach to the superintendent’s role. In her short time in the District, she has secured a number of partnerships with resources now presently at work in the District. She created a strategic platform for students success called, “Learning Reimagined,” where she has mobilized her team to educate the “whole” child. Presently, she is integrating that concept into the District’s new Strategic Plan.
She is committed to helping teachers and students bring to life their passions for education and learning. Hardin-Bartley has spent the past 20 years relentlessly championing educational excellence and equality for all children. She was an active member of the Ferguson Commission’s Child Well-Being and Education Equity Work Group. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., the Gateway (IL) Chapter of the Links; board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri and the University City Children’s Center; advisory board member for Cultural Leadership, and Schools of Education for Webster University, UMSL and Harris Stowe State University.
She resides in the school district that she leads and her daughter just completed kindergarten at Jackson Park Elementary School in The School District of University City.
AAEE is very thankful to have Dr. Sharonica Hardin-Bartley be part of this year’s conference in St. Louis. If you’d like to see Dr. Sharonica Hardin-Bartley and many other talented individuals speak, click on the link below to register for the event. We’ll see you in St. Louis! #AAEE2018STL
Job Search Handbooks
Janice S. Jones Scholarship
Supply and Demand Report
Annual Conference and Career Fair
©AAEE 2020, All Rights Reserved American Association for Employment in Education is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Invest in our community of educators, donate to AAEE today!