As a doctoral student, I have had the opportunity to begin to research the relationship between teacher trust and academic optimism.
“A school with academic optimism has a faculty that collectively believes it can make difference, all students can learn, and high academic performance can be achieved” (Hoy, 2012, p. 85).
This opportunity was empowering as the research was completed with a team of teachers, administrators, and academic coaches throughout the state of Montana. Each of us having a variety of prior teaching and leadership experiences, we focused on one question:
“What are the underlying dispositions/traits/factors of teachers who seem to have maintained academic optimism?”
Focusing on trust, we conducted a survey which included seventy-two teacher participants and a focus group of eleven teachers. One of the most important themes revealed to me was the need for collective trust with faculty and with students’ families. As I begin the school year as a new principal, I rely on what I have experienced as a teacher, researched, and learned from mentors …teachers maintain academic optimism when there are opportunities for them to collaborate with other teachers and to communicate often with parents. With this in mind, to develop collective trust, I will:
1. Consistently provide time for teachers to collaborate within the school day.
2. Keep communication with parents current.
3. Listen and take time to build relationships.
This video helped me to reflect on the importance of our relationships with students: http://youtu.be/SFnMTHhKdkw.