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Monday, May 09, 2016

Professional Practice Priorities

Throughout my 30-year tenure as an educator, the role of teachers has stayed the same and changed.

What's remains true includes the following facts:
  • Positive relationships are integral to good work
  • Effective educators are lifelong learners
  • Positive, thoughtful, targeted academic time with students matters
  • Collegial collaboration trumps isolation
There's a lot that's new with regard to education too? Today there's a lot more data and statistics, mandates, curriculum standards, and varied roles in the school building. As with any changes some of this is very positive, and other aspects of these changes are cumbersome and less effective.

As I looked over my blog today, I realized that it serves as the cover page for my professional work. In the blog are countless posts about teaching including posts about curriculum, leadership, management, professional learning, questions, mentors, and research. Along the sides of my blog are images and links to other social media sites that depict the work I do and have done related to education. 

As I review this blog, I'm thinking today about where I am headed in the profession. At the moment, I've made the commitment to the following directions:
  • Best possible teaching with regard to my fifth grade team of students, families, and colleagues
  • Continued professional learning related to teaching my fifth grade students
  • Outreach and share via conferences, professional associations, writing, and teacher leadership activities to advocate for best possible education for all children
  • Continued professional development via reading, collegial/coaching relationships, reflection, and goal/vision setting
What will each of these elements look like?

Teach Children Well/Professional Learning
To teach my students well, there is lots that I can and will do. First, each school day, I'll attend to the plan created, reflect on the work done, and create the next day's plans. This process of teach, reflect, create supports good learning/teaching well.

During the summer I'll assess the year's curriculum efforts using data, re-reading reflections, talking to peers, student/family/collegial surveys, and review of curriculum materials. I'll note the high points--what really resulted in high quality, positive learning/teaching, and where is there room for greater growth. Already I know that I want to build in more "maker math" and cultural proficiency into the teaching/learning program. I also want to deepen and build the learning-to-learn/social competency curriculum activities, and as always look for better ways to provide feedback that's motivating and informative for students, families, and colleagues. 

Further I want to read a number of books that will deepen my curriculum knowledge. I also want to read articles related to upcoming curriculum/program changes and updates related to the science curriculum, math curriculum, State testing, and ESSA.

Conferences, Professional Associations, Writing, and Teacher Leadership
In this regard, I'll complete my TLI capstone project and continue to learn about the intricacies of my local, State, and National union. I'll also work to hone my presentation skills as I prepare and present a number of workshops. I want to think deeply about the best ways to share information and learn with educators within and outside the system where I work. How can we best work and learn from each other. 

With regards to writing, I may venture outside of the blog to write another online book, articles, or a children's book. I love to write, but don't always find the time to write outside of daily reflections, curriculum work, and some advocacy emails. 

I'm involved with a large number of professional associations, and will focus mostly on the work I'm doing with a small group of Massachusetts educators to plan and carry out an ECET2 in Massachusetts in October. The ECET2 will focus on equity and host keynote speakers Jose Vilson, Meenoo Rami and a number of noteworthy Massachusetts educators. This is exciting work as it will promote a meaningful share around issues of equity with Massachusetts' educators from throughout the State. I'm also excited about a number of MTA, edcamp, MACollaborative, and NCTM efforts and study. 

Professional Reading
Many books lie on desk awaiting greater study. Those books include the following:
What signature activities and efforts lead your work as an educator today? Where do you find the best depth and sustenance to continue your professional work with strength and focus? Who are your mentors in this regard? If you're inclined, please share.