Learning and leading
Inspired by his mother and father – a teacher and coach, respectively – Chris Wejr always knew he had a passion for both teaching and coaching. After spending several years as an educator and athletic director at Brookswood Secondary in School District 35, Chris’s principal recommended leadership opportunities. After graduating from UBC with his Masters of Education in Administration and Educational Leadership in 2009, Chris took on a role as teacher and principal of Kent Elementary School in Agassiz.
Chris Wejr is driven by a philosophy of continuous improvement: as the principal of Kent Elementary school, he strives to create a school environment that fosters success in both staff and students. “Each person is going to need conditions that personally help them to succeed,” he says. “My role as principal is to find out how I can support and provide the tools for people to excel.” Chris helps to provide these tools for success by developing strong relationships and fostering an ethic of care with staff and students, as well as with families and the school community at large. “By listening first and seeking to understand, it helps to learn, build trust and create action that includes the voices of the many people that care about our school.”
Chris emphasizes the importance of solid assessment practices to create conditions for success in education practice; student assessment, he believes, is “at the core of what we do as teachers”. Frequent assessments allow teachers to determine where students are at and where they need to go, thereby helping them to both build confidence and challenge them to develop new skills.
In addition to teacher-based assessments, Chris believes in developing self-regulation within students: “In order for our students to be successful at school, [they] need to be in a physical and social-emotional state where they are ready to learn. Through developing self-regulation skills in our students, they can learn to regulate themselves so they are at an optimal level of learning.”
Chris recommends that educators approach work through a lens of inquiry. “Professional learning is not an event that happens a few times a year,” he says, “with the access to educators across the hall as well as worldwide, professional learning can occur any time and any place.” He encourages teachers to connect with eachother within their own schools, as well as through the wealth of social media and online opportunities. Educators can connect with Chris via his blog, chriswejr.com, or Twitter at @chriswejr.