Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Ideal

I've been smarting about lack of response related to a few issues I feel deeply about, issues that require response in order to move forward with important teaching and planning. The blocked path has created a great deal of anguish for me, a path that I feel could have been unblocked without too much trouble, yet a blockage that persists.

This wall has created a yearning in me for better and more--a yearning for systems, structures, and supports that will better able educators like me to do the work that matters. I've analyzed the situation through multiple lenses and with multiple people--it has created consternation and a bit of a snag with regard to holiday festivities.

Many don't know why I ruminate about such issues. They say, "Let it be. You don't have control over that.," but I know that blocks like this halt potential with what I can do with and for children, and I don't know why we would be satisfied with lost potential. I don't understand why people would be willing to create the kind of stress and frustration that blocks good work and kind care of children. It simply doesn't make sense to me, especially when the issue is so small and the decision so simple.

Yet that's the way it is, and not unlike so many snags that I've experienced throughout my professional career, it's yet another point that demands advocacy and debate. I wish that simple issues like this were in the teacher's decision making spectrum rather than left for multiple channels of discussion and debate. That seems to me to be so much simpler and effective, but that's not the way others see it and that's not the way it is.

So as I try to lay the issue to rest to celebrate the holidays, I realize that there are a number of issues and criteria I long for in schools--attributes that I think will better schools for children. I thought about those attributes and made the list below:

I want
  • honest conversations about what works and what doesn't work, and the evidence to back that up
  • good use of time that supports student learning
  • careful use of dollars to support programs that are truly positive, not just programs that look good
  • realistic assessment of what's working and what is not
  • regular communication about what we've done, what we are doing, and where we are headed
  • consideration and timely response to questions
  • greater teacher voice and choice
  • teacher/student-led initiatives
  • less administrators and more time-on-task teachers
  • timely, inclusive, and transparent goal setting processes
  • respect
  • clear, inclusive, transparent goals and vision
  • fair and equitable treatment of educators at all levels and within all disciplines
  • adequate, welcoming spaces for teaching and learning
  • adequate resources and easy-to-use purchasing systems
  • streamlined support systems that support more time-on-task with students and easier administrative work
  • deeper, better access to good technology to forward teaching and learning in modern ways
  • more distributed leadership models
  • transparent, timely, and inviting idea streams and decision making processes
  • equitable attention to all students and their needs and potential
Some of what I want, I fortunately have. Some of what I want is still not a reality. In the days to come I'll think about priorities and advocacy with regard to this list. Onward.