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Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Winding Waters: The Journey Continues Post Election

I stayed up to watch Trump's acceptance speech last night. Thankfully he didn't inflame and acted with hoped for courtesy. President Trump is our new reality.

With each turn in the path of life, big and small, it makes one rethink. How does this occasion affect me? In what way will I meet these winding waters with meaning, positivity, forward thinking, and action?

Teaching Democracy
First, I am proud of our school. Led by a talented fifth grade teacher Ms. Leo, educators took an informative and developmental approach to the election. All children in the school had a chance to learn a bit about our democracy and the electoral process, and then every child had a chance to vote in our mock election, an election process very similar to the one their parents took part in. This is good teaching as it is teaching our children how to be citizens of our country.

Service Learning and Contribution
Then, unlike the rhetoric so common in the campaign, our school values inclusivity, kind language, contribution, and good acts. Service learning is embraced here, and children are always coming up with new ways to lead the school with good work and care. This is a positive avenue our school holds dear, and one that the principal has led and championed.

Industrial Model Schools versus Knowledge Age Learning Communities
There's currently an undercurrent in the school between top-down factory model school structure and distributive, inclusive models of leadership. This undercurrent created havoc last week when the struggle was all too evident and very painful as educators who thought they had more voice were told they had less. As one of the educators it felt dehumanizing, and its been shared that administrators also felt belittled by the struggle. Next week I'm attending the state's Teacher Advisory Cabinet (TAC) meeting which will be devoted, in part, to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). I have some studying to do over the weekend to prepare for this meeting, and I've read that, in part, ESSA supports greater collaboration and distributive models of teaching and teacher leadership. I will be interested in the study as well as the work we do on TAC and think about how that relates to the undercurrent that exists in the educational organization where I work.

Successful Public Schools
The fact that Massachusetts voted NO to question two, a question that supported more charter schools says to me that Massachusetts has good potential to continue down the path of creating and developing the best possible learning communities for all students. In my role as a classroom teacher, TAC member, MTA Professional Learning Committee member, educational presenter/advocate, and reader/researcher, I hope to contribute to this positive movement. I'm proud to work in a state that values and supports a good public education for every child.

At the ECET2-MA2016, Jose Vilson called us to look deeply at our pedagogy. This is one of my favorite areas of education, an area that answers the question, How can we best engage, empower, and educate every child? I am fan of using the common core standards as a guideline for good teaching. I look forward to working with my grade-level, school, learning organization, and PLN colleagues to develop my craft in this way. As a team my grade-level colleagues and I are working to create a more culturally proficient teaching/learning program. I am excited about that work and see many ways we can continue this work throughout the year together. So far our efforts have been met with positive engagement, empowerment, and learning. As I work to successfully teach the math curriculum, there's lots to read, consider, and embed to uplift the work I do in this arena. I am looking forward to that as well.

Advocacy and Contribution
My response to the election is to encourage people to get active and contribute in the ways that they can to continue to build a strong America as well as positive global citizenry. I will also encourage people to become informed--know the laws, understand our history, and attend community, state, and national events that help you to advocate with greater success and intent. I plan to the do the same.

It's winding waters in this fast moving world of ours. There will always be surprises, new invention, troubles, and unexpected events. The more we can work individually and together to navigate these winding waters with best intent, knowledge, collaboration, and action, the better we will be. Onward.