Sunday, July 29, 2012

Teaching: Book 27

When you've been in an organization for a long time, there are many events that mark your history--both good and not so good events.  A long term resume from the same place is marked with a wide range of leadership, ideologies and mindsets.  In many ways, I think it may be more difficult to remain in the same place for a long time than to move around, but I haven't moved around so I don't know.

The reason you stay in one place is because there is much that keeps you there--there is a quality about the institution or organization that calls you to do your best, stay and contribute. In the organization I work for, staying is not uncommon.  Many, perhaps most, professionals do stay for the long run--a full career, and they become an integral part of the culture, community and focus. The organization has served employees well, and in return the employees invest their time and energy into the organization.

As a veteran, it is important to renew your focus and commitment each year--to take a good look at your demeanor, contribution and effort.  What skills and focus will I continue to bring forth, and what will I change to keep up with the organization's changing structure and focus?

What has remained the same in all these years is that the central mission continues to focus on the welfare and best possible education for children--that's the centerpiece of my work and the work of the school system.

Leadership structure and focus has changed over the years with regard to specific initiatives, and the current shifts are very positive as we embrace RTI and PLCs to better serve students.  I am developing my collaborative skill as I move from the isolation of classroom teaching to these structures that teach children well. Students' success depends on our apt collaboration, communication and shared focus, and we continue to build systems that support this collaborative effort.

At times, there's the temptation to look back and lament the not-so-good moments: the changed position, the lost opportunity, the structures-not-in-place, the challenged health year, and the curriculum crossroads, but it's better to recognize that both good and the not-so-good as the inevitable growing pains that are part of every career and organization as change and growth doesn't always come with ease and peace.

The new year brings focus and an open mind to the many ways our collegial community will work together to serve children well.  I will face obstacles with honest questions and discourse, and work daily to contribute to this organization that I have chosen as the home base of my teaching career.

Have you centered your teaching career in one location or have you moved from place to place?  What are the advantages of serving one system or moving amongst many?  In what ways do you renew your commitment each year and make appropriate changes?  How has your system changed with regard to collegiality and collaboration?

I am excited about the year ahead and looking forward to weaving my summer learning into both students' and collegial work and activities.  In some ways, I feel like I'm at the preface of another book, Book 27, of a long and eventful series.