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Friday, March 18, 2016

Where Does Your Commitment Lie?

Yesterday a child was disgruntled in my class. It's not unusual with a class of twenty or more that one or a few children will be disgruntled now and then. This is not dissimilar from the children you raise in your own families as it's difficult to keep everyone happy all the time.

Yet, when a child is disgruntled, it calls me to think about why and what I can do to make the child happier. How can we change the routines, agenda, class set-up, and collaborative groups to the support the child better?

The same is true for the greater program. As we analyze our efforts, data, observations, schedules, routines, and results, where do we hit the mark, and where can we revise to do a better job? And as we do this assessment, where does our commitment lie? Where will we put our time, energy, and resources to support children well?

I am committed to teaching all children well. I do think it's possible to do well by every child, but I realize that to meet that goal requires thoughtful collaboration and care. We can't do it alone, it takes a team.

Hence, at this time of the year, where does my work support this mission of teaching all children well.

First as I work with my ECET2 colleagues in Massachusetts, I'm thinking about how we can bring teachers who are interested in this mission together in a way that "celebrates and elevates" the work we do. We need to inspire each other and reach beyond our own classrooms, schools, and systems to nurture the mission, and the ECET2MA team is one way to do this.

Next, with regard to the teaching team I work with daily, our careful, respectful, and detailed collaboration matters. We already have a very good program, and now it's a matter of looking deeply at the details in order to better the program. Questions like these will lead our work forward in the months ahead:
  • How can we better the schedule to make more time for meaningful teaching and learning?
  • How can we revise and target our field studies and signature projects with a focus on teaching all children well?
  • Do we make enough time for reading great books, learning math in multiple, meaningful ways, integrating worthy tech, and developing learning-to-learn skills and attitudes?

Personally as I look ahead, these are some of the specific efforts I want to employ to teach all students better:
  • Evaluate some students' recent assessments with keen attention to the strategies they employ to learn how to better motivate and teach these students. Once I assess, I want to meet with the students to relay my findings and ask them how I can help them more. Children usually know what they need.
  • Teach students how to use online venues to learn effectively. I want to better do this as with today's technology, a great deal of knowledge is only a click away if you know how to maximize the use of tech tools.
  • Continue to develop and deepen the learning experiences with regard to math, reading, and environmental science.
  • Continued reading and research related to math education, adult learning, and effective learning/teaching strategies.
  • Study Massachusetts' new science standards and update related class websites, learning experiences. 
Identifying where your commitment lies helps one to maximize effort, time, and energy in that regard. What other strategies and efforts help you to reach your goals in this regard?