With a few more weeks left until the year begins, it's time to enjoy a few family events, continue to prepare the house for the busy school year, and get ready for lots of listening and sensitive response.
The listening involves hearing all about my colleagues' summer events, study, and efforts for the school year ahead. I'll learn a lot about reading/writing projects, standardized test results, new field study/special project ideas, school and systemwide goals, and curriculum schedule/content additions/changes.
I also have to shore up my flexibility muscles as the start-of-the-year is always filled with a number of unexpected events such as staff changes, structural considerations, material challenges, information delays, and expectation changes. There's little correspondence during the summer months, so generally there's a lot to contend with during those first days of school.
Overall I know I'll be returning to a school and system that is well-staffed and supported. The community cares about the schools and continually supports the work we do. The staff is highly experienced and wholly dedicated to the success of the schools and care for every child. The town where the schools are located enjoys substantial natural beauty, and the materials, structures, and programs in place are generally good and continually moving towards better.
The areas that I hope to see more change and development include the following:
- Greater teacher voice, choice, and leadership at the elementary school level
- More modern processes of research, development, and application of new ideas, research, and practice
- Greater attention to the value of networks and communication with revised processes for sharing news and information in steady, inclusive, and transparent ways with all members of the learning/teaching community: students, family members, educators, specialists, administrative/custodial/food service staff, administrators, and community members
To be in a place where what I want to advocate for is betterment rather than basic needs is a true advantage and another reason why our school system is such a good place to learn and teach.