Friday, May 25, 2012

Direction: Defining Your Role

I've been looking for greater role definition in education, but now I realize that has to come from me.

Curriculum leaders, coaches and administrators are working to implement the common core, RTI, PLCs and a better schedule for meeting students' needs. They've asked for our thoughts, and now they are busy crafting the plans for our work next year. I imagine that we'll receive updates either at the end of this year, over the summer or at the start of next year about these new and revised initiatives.

In the meantime, I find myself thinking deeply about how I will use my time and run my classroom to personalize learning for each child within the collective frameworks mentioned above. In that regard, I am focused on learning about brain-friendly education--the kind of learning that teaches children how to learn in meaningful, efficient and successful ways that include their passions and interests.

In a sense, I'll have my own "mini sabbatical" this summer and focus on my summer reading list. I hope to return to school with a host of activities, guiding posters, classroom routines and a stronger mindset for teaching children well.  I'm excited by this journey because it's the first time in my life I've had the time to read and focus on a topic that intrigues me with energy and depth over several mostly-uninterrupted weeks (I also have a family to care for).

I'm sure I won't be alone on this journey.  Last summer I was able to connect with other educators near and far who were researching and thinking about the deeper questions related to the work they do.  I look forward to that collegiality again this summer. The cycle of teaching, then learning, then teaching again positively affects the work we do.  That's why I'm not in favor of 12-month school year, but instead believe that all children should have the opportunity to learn in new and invigorating ways during the summer at camps, local programs, on their own and with family members.

In education, defining our role depends on time to read, research and strengthen our craft--the kind of time I'm looking forward to this summer.  Let's see what happens.