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Thursday, September 29, 2016

What's Next?

Our ECET2-MA2016 Twitter buttons are in!
Today's DESE Teachers' Cabinet Meeting made me realize once again that alining yourself with positive people who utilize good process with uplifting, promising goals and vision is the way to go. One has to steer clear of those that continuously bring us down, make us invisible, and frown on new ideas.

So, with that in mind, what's next on the agenda?

There was great enthusiasm for ECET2-MA2016 at today's meeting. Two members of the planning team, Kevin Cormier and Lisa Simon, were there with me and another, Audrey Jackson, was conferring via Twitter as she traveled to another professional event. We're really looking forward to a terrific day of Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers. When positive, forward people get together the energy in the room is awesome. That was palpable today and I'm sure it will be evident at ECET2-MA2016.

In the room today there was lots of talk about edcamps, the Teacher Leadership Initiative (TLI), National Board for Professional Teaching (NPBTS), MTA's Summer Conference, Hosting Conversations, and TeachPlus's Policy Online course. There's certain a lot of opportunity out there to get involved in the profession and develop your craft. Abby Dick as there today and she's leading #edcampmalden on October 15th. It's a morning only #edcamp and a terrific opportunity to learn with colleagues outside of your school. I plan to go.

We also exchanged many stories about school life. Those stories will serve me well in the days to come as I invest in lots of great math teaching and learning with our wonderful fifth grade students. Our TeamFive collegial and student team is off to a great start. Soon my colleagues and I will present at MassCUE. We've planned a presentation to demonstrate the many ways we use technology to boost collaboration, communication, and learning with shared learning community of students, colleagues, family members, administrators and other interested individuals.
If you go to MassCUE, join us at our presentation Wednesday!

I suspect our next few weeks of teaching will focus on solidifying routines, targeting and elevating learning experiences, and continuing to build a strong grade level community.

Uplifting DESE Teachers/Principal Advisory Cabinet Meeting

Today's Teachers Advisory and Principal Advisory Cabinet (TAC/PAC) meeting was positive, uplifting, and forward moving.

The introductions, process, and meeting organizations was well planned, innovative and timely. The teachers and principals in the room were invested and dedicated to teaching well. I can't wait to bring the good ideas and processes I learned of and interacted with back to school. I feel fortunate to work with this dedicated group.

Do You Need to be Perfect to Have Voice?

The educators met to discuss curriculum. There were a number of similar and differing opinions. I was at a tough spot since it was a year when particular results were not as strong as years past. There were many, many reasons for this--reasons that extend far beyond me or my work. Yet, there's always more to learn, and I'm the first one to use good analyses to cull strategies to improve and move forward.

The general opinion by some was that if the results are not the best, you have little voice about your efforts, and it may be because you didn't follow the orders to perfection. Yet, my experience, reading, and research points me to a place where I have to dig deep and respect the work and research I've done despite the conjecture and finger pointing. It's rarely one or the other, and typically our best work is the work we derive from honest collaboration, transparent communication, and working as a community of teachers and learners.

When the fear factor and unyielding directives are thrown into the mix, it typically quiets the team and halts good collaboration and share. However, when the discussion turns to meaningful discourse supported by good process and honest facts and figures, the direction moves in beneficial ways.

No two teachers are the same--we all bring different talents, challenges, perspectives, and vision to the table. I believe it's our differences that make us strong and that maximizing the integration of that variety leads to a strong, dynamic team.

Team takes time, good process, collective goals, and loose-tight direction--a direction that's loose enough to respond to the large variety of students' interests, skills, and efforts, and tight enough to bring the team together and achieve good results.

It's good for process to focus on result first. What happened? What went well? Where were the challenges? Why did they occur? How can we make that better? Moving from big picture and vision backwards to the details typically results in good teamwork, direction, and result.

So I took the information we discussed. I looked at what I knew. I've made some decisions for myself and reached out with some questions to others with regard to their results. Too often we all jump to conjecture and conclusions without taking the time to use good process to unveil the truth of a matter, but when we do reach those truthful realities, we better prepare ourselves to move in fortuitous ways to betterment and strong teams. Onward.