Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Daily Teaching Focus

After spending considerable time watching school committee meetings tonight, I find myself desiring greater distributive models of leadership as well as greater transparent, regular communication more than ever.

Timely share and inclusion of multiple perspectives, ideas, and decision makers has the potential to elevate the work we do together to serve families and children well.

When I hear of new initiatives that are unknown to educators, I worry. In the past when initiatives like this have been dropped on our door step, they typically don't take off or become successful. Instead they become one more box, binder, or folder that sits unused because the initiative didn't enlist educators voice and choice in effective ways thus resulting in a curriculum effort that doesn't fit the time available, resources we have, or focus needed.

The most successful curriculum initiatives are those that profit from considerable collaboration, preparation, reflection, and revision--they are units of teaching and strategies that many have invested in. These efforts profit from authentic evaluation, share, troubleshooting, and development. I'm a fan of a broader, more inclusive, and transparent process of curriculum development, a kind of process that enlists the voice and choice of all stakeholders.

Yet, I am one voice of many in a school system, and while I enjoy discussing, thinking about, and debating the big ideas in education, my main focus is teaching 74 fifth graders each day.

As I think of those students, I'm focused on building their mathematical foundation via the fifth grade standards as well as supporting/enriching skills, concepts, and knowledge. We have some great online and offline tools and resources for this teaching, and I have an eager group of fifth graders. The key here is to stay responsive to each student so I can coach them with as much skill as possible.

In addition to the math, I am focused on supporting my RTI reading group, my homeroom's social competency learning and work, and our TeamFive grade level efforts which include our shared goal to boost our team effort to present a culturally proficient program, foster good STEAM teaching, conduct curriculum-related field studies, and nurture each child to the best of our ability.

No one teacher can do all or be all, but we do profit from ethical, inclusive, forward-thinking, and empowering educational communities--the kinds of communities that bring people together with respect and dignity to teach all children well. Onward.