6 reasons every teacher needs an accountability partner

Ayodele Harrison

Ayodele is an educational consultant and senior partner at CommunityBuild Ventures LLC, a consulting firm committed to developing powerful and impactful organisations serving Black communities. He is the creator and host of a weekly Tuesday night Twitter chat @BMEsTalk, a digital space for the voices and perspectives of Black Male Educators (BMEs). Since 2015, Ayodele has facilitated workshops and training programmes on topics ranging from navigating stress on the job, cultivating effective youth and young adult mentoring programmes, to building a culture of curiosity in the Maths classroom.

Follow @Ayodele_Har78
@BMEsTalk

Website: www.ayodeleharrison.com Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Image credit: Pixabay // pmbbun. Image credit: Pixabay // pmbbun.

Around this time of year, my commitment to my professional resolutions begin to wane. Deadlines, demands and life in general clouds my path to the professional improvement I seek. While my desire and intent are strong, my actions (or behaviors) often fall short or don’t even get off the ground. I find this is most often the case when try to do it all by ourselves, which is the case for many educators. Some colleagues have described it as feeling like they are working in a “silo” - ISOLATED!

The busy day of working with students, making photocopies, short lunches and even shorter bathroom breaks can leave me no time to focus on my professional growth. I know first hand that this can lead to frustration, disappoint and a growing desire to leave the profession.

So, what is an educator with a strong desire to grow their practice as a professional to do? Start an accountability partnership.

What is an accountability partnership? It is when two people agree to work collaboratively to assist each other with articulating goals, identifying short term commitments aligned with their goals, and supporting each other in keeping their individual commitments. Simon Sinek, when asked in an interview about the role of accountability partners in his life, commented that when you have “other people invested in the work you do, you are more likely to do it not because of you, but because you don’t want to let them down.”

YouTube link

Simply put, we are more effective in improving our professional practice when others know our intentions and are willing to support our efforts.

Okay, you might be thinking: “If it was that easy, everyone would have a partner and would be on their way to reaching their goals.” You’re right to be skeptical. So, what type of person makes the best accountability partner? Tony Robbins, of course! Just kidding - the legendary entrepreneur has definitely produced some amazing results, but your partner doesn’t have to be an expert in motivational speaking or in the specific area in which you want to grow. They can be a colleague from down the hall, a friend from another school, a neighbour, or mate from the gym. That said, there are six things you and your partner can do to increase the effectiveness of the accountability partnership.

1. Be available and reliable

A partnership is not just one meeting and a phone call. It is a ongoing relationship fueled by personal connection and collaboration. This partnership requires that you and your partner can both commit to working together for 30 to 60 days. This requires that you both show up. Over that time, the plan would be to meet multiple times either in-person, over the phone, or video chat.

2. Spend time strengthening mutual respect and trust

Invest time getting to know one another. Set aside time regularly to have both quality and simple chit chat conversations.

3. Be a great listener

The ideal relationship between accountability partners is not based on giving and following advice, but rather on exploring a range of topics together. Elena Aguilar, a transformational leadership coach wrote in an article for education week: “When you are listening very deeply to another person, your own thoughts and concerns quiet down, your ego naps in a corner of your mind. This creates a tremendous space for your [partner] to explore [their] own issues.”

4. Commit to asking questions, not giving answers

A great strategy for becoming a great listener is to focus on asking reflective questions. The goal in asking reflective questions is to assist each other with navigating inner thoughts and experiences, in order to gain deeper clarity and understanding of one’s own thinking. An accountability partner is not a mentor, and not necessarily an expert. Their primary role is to draw out, not pour in.

5. Avoid being judgemental

I once read that “judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who you are.” Effective partnerships are not about pressuring, shaming and whatnot. They are about consistently being available to support one-another with keeping to commitments. If a commitment wasn’t reached, don’t dwell on it. Set another commitment and work on holding to that.

6. Mind the time

Keep meetings short, and stay on point. We are busy people. We have lesson plans to write, parent phone calls to make, field trips to plan, and so on. Keep the meetings short and try not to get bogged down in what’s not going well. Use a timer, and don’t take it personally when it goes off.

All in all, teachers can often find themselves feeling isolated; not making the professional improvement they desire because they get stuck on the hamster-wheel completing day-to-day activities. Break out of that silo by recruiting and working one-on-one with accountability partner. The least of what they could do is tell you that you are on the hampster wheel and potential collaborate with you to develop solutions to get off in order to reallying get running toward becoming the educator your heart desires to be.

Want to receive inspiration like this each week? Sign up to our Community Update and be part of the action!

Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support us.
When you register, you'll join a grassroots community where you can:
• Enjoy unlimited access to articles
• Get recommendations tailored to your interests
• Attend virtual events with our leading contributors
Register Now
Login

Latest stories

  • How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country
    How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country

    Teaching English in a foreign country is likely to be one of the most demanding experiences you'll ever have. It entails relocating to a new country, relocating to a new home, and beginning a new career, all of which are stressful in and of themselves, but now you're doing it all at once. And you'll have to converse in a strange language you may not understand.

  • Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?
    Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?

    Over the weekend, my family of five went to an Orlando theme park, and I decided we should really enjoy ourselves by purchasing an Unlimited Quick Queue pass. It was so worth the money! We rode every ride in the park at least twice, but one ride required us to ride down a rapidly flowing river, which quenched us with water. It was incredible that my two-year-old was laughing as well. We rode the Infinity Falls ride four times in one day—BEST DAY EVER for FAMILY FUN in the Sun! The entire experience was epic, full of energizing emotions and, most importantly, lots of smiles. What made this ride so cool was that the whole family could experience it together, the motions were on point, and the water was the icing on the cake. It had been a while since I had that type of fun, and I will never forget it.

  • Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2
    Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2

    The Action Pack is back for the start of the brand new school year, just in time for Recycle Week 2021 on 20 - 26 September, to empower pupils to make the world a better and more sustainable place. The free recycling-themed resources are designed for KS1 and KS2 and cover the topics of Art, English, PSHE, Science and Maths and have been created to easily fit into day-to-day lesson planning.

  • Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu
    Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu

    Following the exceptional performance from British breakthrough star Emma Raducanu, who captured her first Grand Slam at the US Open recently, Emmamania is already inspiring pupils aged 4 - 11 to get more involved in tennis - and LTA Youth, the flagship
    programme from The LTA, the governing body of tennis in Britain, has teachers across the country covered.

  • 5 ways to boost your school's eSafety
    5 ways to boost your school's eSafety

    eSafety is a term that constantly comes up in school communities, and with good reason. Students across the world are engaging with technology in ways that have never been seen before. This article addresses 5 beginning tips to help you boost your school’s eSafety. 

  • Tackling inequality in EdTech
    Tackling inequality in EdTech

    We have all been devastated by this pandemic that has swept the world in a matter of weeks. Schools have rapidly had to change the way they operate and be available for key workers' children. The inequalities that have long existed in communities and schools are now being amplified by the virus.

  • EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab
    EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab

    The world is catching up with a truth that we’ve championed at Learning Ladders for the last 5 years - that children’s learning outcomes are greatly improved by teachers, parents and learners working in partnership. 

  • Reducing primary to secondary transition stress
    Reducing primary to secondary transition stress

    As school leaders grapple with the near impossible mission to start bringing more students into schools from 1st June, there are hundreds of thousands of Year 6 pupils thinking anxiously about their move to secondary school.

  • Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?
    Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?

    The K-12 online tutoring market is booming around the world, with recent research estimating it to grow by 12% per year over the next five years, a USD $60bn increase. By breaking down geographic barriers and moving beyond the limits of local teaching expertise, online tutoring platforms are an especially valuable tool for those looking to supplement their studies in the developing world, and students globally are increasingly signing up to online tuition early on in their secondary education schooling. 

  • Employable young people or human robots?
    Employable young people or human robots?

    STEM skills have been a major focus in education for over a decade and more young people are taking science, technology, engineering, and maths subjects at university than ever before, according to statistics published by UCAS. The downside of this is that the UK is now facing a soft skills crisis and the modern world will also require children to develop strong social skills as the workplaces are transformed by technology. 

In order to make our website better for you, we use cookies!

Some firefox users may experience missing content, to fix this, click the shield in the top left and "disable tracking protection"