Most large companies and organizations, such as schools, often have a mission statement, a concise but focused framework and purpose, which constantly reminds them which direction they are heading in. This is really no different from our own "personal" mission statements as teachers, as well as ones that our students possess. Most of us don't have it written down on a kitchen fridge or a bulletin board, but it's there, usually internally, and it shows up in our actions and behaviors.
Ideally, we want our collective mission statements (society, school, administration, teacher(s), students, parents) to align as closely as possible in the core areas, which will ultimately lead to success as an overall community. Of course, there are times when individual mission statements will be in conflict each other. A classic (but stereotypical) example would be that a child wants to sleep in, eat junk food and play video games all day. This would obviously conflict with a parent's, who wants the child to wake up early, eat fruit and veggies and study/exercise/play with friends instead.
As a classroom example, if our mission statement includes giving students a voice, figure out how much teacher talk vs. student talk is happening. Depending on the results, either your behavior needs to change or your mission statement needs to change.
Nonetheless, a good starting point is find out what's important to you as a teacher, create a relevant and attainable mission statement, and continue to convey that message and create an environment where that mission becomes not only possible, but achievable on a daily basis.
Daniel H. Lee
This blog will be dedicated to sharing in three areas: happenings in my classroom and school; analysis and distillation of other educators' wealth of knowledge in various texts; insights from other disciplines and areas of expertise that relate and connect with educational practices.