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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

What Good Awaits: Choosing Well

Change has the potential to create disruption, yet change can also spell positivity too.

Change is a constant, and how we embrace that change matters.

As I think of a large number of changes ahead, I think about the good that awaits.

Ethical Practice and Effort
One change I see occurring is a greater emphasis on ethical practice and effort. This change has been mirrored in greater transparency and strategic process in many areas of professional work and effort. This ethical practice replaces hearsay and conjecture with truthful conversation and process which, I believe, will eventually result in greater distributive leadership and positive practice. Essentially to practice this ethical effort, one has to "walk the walk" and erase conjecture and hearsay from his/her conversation, and embrace open practice with a critical eye on betterment and optimal collaboration with others.

In real time this means not accepting statements that do not have merit or substance. It also means following through with promises and positive acts. Further, this ethical work demands owning error and learning from it as well as continued advocacy and collaboration for best possible process, support, learning, and teaching.

Choosing Well
As I've mentioned before, this year I signed on to a large number of professional events that taught me a lot, but were definitely not my preferred learning/teaching activities. It's important to choose well for who you are and what you want to accomplish. I had to step down from a number of these efforts as the time the efforts demanded were beginning to have an effect on my chosen work which is my day-to-day practice.

As an educator my number one priority is the work I can do with and for children as well as the systems and learning that bolster and support that work. I am truly committed to the question of how we can better schools and education to serve children well. This question holds tremendous potential for individual children, communities, our nation, and world. It is future making work that matters, and work that I'm passionate about. It is essential that I say no to work that doesn't directly match this aim, and yes to work that supports this work well. I wish I had the foresight to see this with regard to a few initiatives that I've had to say no to.

Details
To serve children well, we can't lose track of the details. I'll focus in on some of those details today--details related to student portfolios, re-taking tests, goal-attainment, and more.

Collegiality
Good collegiality where we support one another in ways that matter is essential to good work at school. What does good collegiality look like? It's that balance of sensitively supporting colleagues at school and in their personal lives as appropriate. It's also working together to create and build programs that support children well. Teaching well also means that this collegiality extends to families, community members, and administrators as well in order to do the best work possible.

Balance and Realistic Expectations
In any work like teaching the potential is limitless and this is where balance and realistic schedules are important. It's important that one continually review and revise expectations and balance to keep it realistic and doable.

Professional Learning
Stepping down and away from a few activities that were going to demand more time than I had, I want to be cognizant of what future efforts I'll sign on to--efforts that support my main areas of interest and commitment: family and students.

In this light, I'm looking forward to doing a lot of reading, analysis, and preparation for learning events, lessons, and opportunities ahead. I'm also invested in working with collegial groups who are invested in improving schools to serve students better.