Saturday, July 28, 2012

Classroom Teachers and The Innovation Dilemma?

I've adopted a 21st century mindset--I respond to my work with an eye on the past and an eye on the future making the best possible decisions based on the tools and information available, student needs, trends/evolution, research and system-wide goals and efforts.

It is a vibrant process of professionalism that colleagues who desire best effect embrace.

In many systems, innovators are embraced, and in other systems they are dismissed.  In some systems, information is readily shared, debated, and discussed, and in other systems information is hidden, owned and selectively shared.  In some systems, the "turf" is shared with student success as the central mission, and in other systems turf is protected so that positions remain unchanged and undisturbed. In most systems, it is probably some of one mindset, and some of the other.

It is challenging to be an innovator, particularly when you're in the rank of "soldier" or the "frontline" as there are many above and around you guiding your work and setting your paths.  One might say that all innovators should put their effort into rising up and taking a lead role, yet I do think innovators on the front line can be a powerful, effective source of instruction and student response particularly when supported by leadership, scheduling and role structure.

I am delighted to work in a system with apt tools and eager students.  I will continue to hone and develop my 21st (and beyond) professional skills and mindset while I seek honest, transparent, student-focused debate and discussion related to innovation and best effect for student success.  I'll welcome the opportunity to be part of decision making and information exchange when that opportunity is available. Similarly, I'll embrace the young innovators and forward thinking students I teach because I know their ideas, energy and direction hold promise for their individual success as well as their impact on peers and others.

At times I am dismayed that elementary classroom teachers' roles often leave little time or space for special jobs, additional stipends, voice or realistic scheduling. Often in a school, roles differ significantly with respect to time-on-task with students and responsibility for feedback, grading, parent conferences and daily care i.e recess duty, transitioning students, students' basic needs and more. While it's impossible to compare, I believe that greater movement towards realistic, reasonable, equitable schedules and responsibilities for all professionals is a worthy goal for schools, one that will translate into greater innovation, student response and teaching/learning success.

I want to thank my vital PLN for nurturing my passion, development and ideas over the past several years as I continue to grow and deepen as an educator of young children--this is the educational mindset I've sought since my earliest years as a teacher--one I will continue to develop and challenge.