CEDAR CITY — Iron County School District’s new superintendent, Lance Hatch, kicked off the school year by challenging teachers and staff to strive to make five positive or encouraging interactions for every negative or corrective one.
“Relationships thrive at five to one,” Hatch said during his keynote address the district’s opening institute Friday morning at Cedar High School.
Earlier in his remarks, Hatch had cited research indicating normal human functioning typically sees 2.5 positive interactions to every negative one.
“If we want to perform optimally, we need to have a 4.3 positive to one corrective ratio, at least,” Hatch said.
Hatch also shared a personal experience about a time when he was teaching an unruly class of fifth graders. A former colleague had asked him if he wondered if the problem in the class wasn’t the students but actually Hatch himself. After he had shifted his focus toward giving the students more positive feedback, the students made a remarkable turnaround in their attitude and achievement, he said.
Hatch also shared background anecdotes from his upbringing in the small rural town of La Sal in San Juan County. He mentioned several teachers who had influenced his desire to become an educator.
“I am more than excited to be in Iron County School District,” he added. “This district is amazing and has a wonderful reputation for excellence. I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and work with you.”
Hatch spoke of what he sees as the role of the district administration.
“The first thing is that the school district is in charge of making sure everybody knows why we’re doing what we’re doing. That’s the foundation of everything.”
Once the district administration has made their expectations clear, he said, the teachers’ job is to take care of the “what” by implementing the daily learning activities.
“What happens between bells is more important than anything else that happens in this district,” he said.
The district is also responsible for making sure teachers have the resources they need, which spurred Hatch to pick up a guitar and launch into a humorous rendition of “If My Nose was Runnin’ Money,” adjusting the lyrics to fit within the framework of public education funding.
Hatch also shared several thought-provoking questions for those in attendance to consider, such as who their favorite teacher was and why. Audience members were asked to share their responses with each other in small groups.
Of all the things that have an impact on student learning, he said, collective teacher efficacy tops the list.
He defined that term as “a staff’s shared belief, that through their collective action, they can positively influence student outcomes, including those who are disengaged and/or disadvantaged.”
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