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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Putting a Challenging Week to Rest

On the child-front, it was an extraordinary week of teaching and learning. Our maturing spadefoot toads, the fifth grade play, biography research and study, STEAM survival activities, and more made it a tremendously, positive week of teaching and learning. TeamFive is a great team of students, family members, and educators--a learning community that works to support every member with strength, commitment, vision, and care. Amazing!

As I've mentioned before the work we do as part of the shared teaching model is the best teaching/learning environment I've ever worked in--the possibilities and current efforts are top-notch, and for that I'm grateful and inspired.

On the larger front of teaching and learning, there remains considerable challenge. Teacher voice and choice, transparent inclusive communication, and collaboration continue to be areas of great challenge near and far in teaching circles. We have a national government that appears to disregard the value a good education for every child holds, and the essential practices and supports that go along with that. We have local systems that are reluctant to modernize leadership models with distributive leadership, educator choice and voice, development of dynamic learning communities, and the supports that go along with that. Fortunately I note substantial good work at the state and union levels--support that is looking ahead with depth, mission, and good research to build strong, dynamic educational experiences for every child. I honor these efforts.

In light of this, what is a teacher to do? I say it to myself again and again, what I have to do is aline myself with those who truly support the good research and efforts related to teaching children well. I have to individually steer clear and jointly advocate against those people and policies that continually demean, disregard, and disrespect educators with poor communication, directives that don't include good research and teacher voice and choice, and lack of other supports that help us to do our jobs well.

This is easier said than done since my nature is to be trusting and to quickly turn the page and believe that people's efforts are well intended, inclusive, and inspired. Perhaps a good way to guard against this blind trust is to meet initiatives and requests with the following questions:
  • Has this been a source of support or a source of disrespect in the past?
  • Is this an initiative that has its roots in good research and educator vision, voice and choice or is this initiative a surface-level act that's more representative of ambition than mission?
  • Is this an initiative where teachers will be well supported?
  • Is this an initiative that matches the mission I have chosen which is teaching children well?
Rather than get involved and upset with initiatives that don't support my central mission as an educator, these questions will help me to steer away from efforts that take substantial time, create havoc and trouble, and don't support who I am or what I can do as an educator. Onward.