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Friday, August 04, 2017

A Successful Teaching/Learning Year

Sometimes an educator is his/her best leader because he/she knows what success and good growth means when it comes to teaching well. Often administrators charged to lead are too busy are concerned with other matters that don't connect with what an educator hopes and wants to do during the teaching year. When that happens, a teacher has to lead himself or herself.

As I think of the year ahead and what I hope to achieve, I want to lay out what it means to me to have a successful teaching year.

Dynamic, Collaborative Learning Community
I want this year to be a year where the learning community is wonderfully collaborative and dynamic. What does that look like?

  • family members, students, specialists, special educators, school staff, administrators, and classroom teachers working together to set goals, track students' efforts, needs, and interests, create, and solve problems to foster the best possible positive and meaningful learning experiences for children.
  • positive talk
  • respect for differences including different schedules, personal/professional responsibilities, challenges, outlooks, experiences. . . .
  • slowing it down so that there's time for good listening and collaboration
  • use of good process to solve problems, create, evaluate, and develop our collective craft and impact
  • good schedule/routine of collective work that maintains regular collaboration, but also leaves significant time for independent efforts and student service. 
  • care for one another with respect to special events, significant needs, and daily concerns
Academic Success
I want every child to make significant academic success. What does that entail and what does that look like.
  • Get a good holistic baseline for every child by utilizing MCAS scores, systemwide assessments, surveys, class meetings, letters, meetings, notes from last year's teachers, and observations.
  • Make time to goal set for each child--where is he/she and what do I hope they'll achieve.
  • Create a record book online and offline to collect significant data and anecdotal notes. Track students' progress explicitly using progress sheets, student reflections, rubrics, and showcase portfolios
  • Meet with family members and students to set goals
  • Track students' progress and make that progress explicit to students, family members, and colleagues
  • Coach students forward in explicit, sensitive and responsive ways.
  • Create a class profile at start of year based on baseline data and then create a profile at the end of the year to note academic progress in a number of ways, not just via scores. 
Student Identity, Creativity, and Share
Foster a learning environment where students' identity, creativity, and share is honored in explicit ways.
  • Give students a chance to lead the class through regular meetings and follow-up leadership activities
  • Allow students to learn and demonstrate their learning in multiple creative ways
  • Provide regular opportunity for students to teach and share their questions, knowledge, and ideas with others
  • Promote student advocacy
  • Encourage students to solve the problems and conflicts that exist. Provide support and coaching
  • Inspire students to think big, dream, and reflect on their live today and in the future as well as the world that exists and the world they hope to contribute to
  • Inform students about the many opportunities that exist beyond the classroom to learn, develop, and enjoy life. Provide experiences in this realm through expert visitors, field studies, and special events
So in the end, a successful year can be summed up in the following way:

I learned, collaborated, and taught with the learning/teaching community to foster a dynamic learning/teaching team that helped every child achieve academically, develop a confident sense of self, create, and contribute in significant ways that were meaningful, engaging, and empowering. 

If I can achieve what that sentence states, I'll consider the year to be a successful teaching/learning year.