I was born and raised fifteen minutes from Gillette Stadium, then Foxboro Stadium and before that, I think Shaffer Stadium...I think. Regardless, when you grow up in the Boston area, you are likely to become a fan of Boston sports. Winning or losing, those who grew up in Boston tend to be pretty loyal to their teams. Though I have lived away from Massachusetts for close to twenty years, I still consider myself to be a New Englander and a fan of Boston sports.
As a school administrator, I spend much of my time listening to teachers thoughts on the students they work with. When our students produce failing grades, we as educators are quick to blame them, their families, the weather, the phases of the moon...anything but ourselves.
Getting back to Boston sports, there have been many times in the past year when I have been proud to call myself a Bostonian; beginning with the response to the Boston Marathon tragedy. I still have hanging outside my office, the phrase "Tough, Proud, Brave, Free, Strong...Boston". My most recent feeling of Boston pride comes with Bill Belichick's response to the Patriots' loss to the Denver Broncos in the AFC championship. When asked about the loss, his response included the following quote:
“I wish we could’ve done a little bit better job today — especially me,”
While Belichick indicates that he felt the players could have performed better, he also factors himself into that equation. He took some of the blame for that loss. He held himself accountable for his actions.
I know I get frustrated when I hear teachers blaming performance on the kids. I get so frustrated sometimes that I start blaming the teachers. Though this process is unproductive, it needs to happen for a few moments anyway. Hopefully it happens within the confines of your PLC or team, and hopefully this "placing of the blame" causes us to look at all stakeholders...even ourselves. Before we can improve student performance, we need to include ourselves as a key component of the equation.
As we get into assessment season, I hope that we as educators are looking at all facets of accountability, including that facet which we have the most amount of control over: ourselves.