So today I'm thinking about a rough week and the fact the cliche, hindsight is better than foresight. I thought I was well prepped for the week ahead only to realize there were a number of factors I had not considered including the following:
- We couldn't fully anticipate students' reactions to the state's tests.
- Students are essentially exhausted after taking the tests so any teaching after those tests has to be mild and flexible.
- We had not fully realized our need for breaks and lunch in light of these tests and the timing for transitions related to the tests.
- The tests greatly impact schedules, routines, staffing, and time.
Essentially with every new year, we have to revisit the protocols and policies related to important curriculum/program initiatives. We tend to do that almost all the time, and it's important to do. With four more tests ahead in the next few weeks, I'll be mindful of these factors and plan accordingly.
I also realize now that when staffing is stretched so is the tenor of the building. In schools we rely heavily on our supports. That's why we're able to successfully employ inclusion, forward deep and engaging learning units, and collaborate well. However, when the supports are stretched, our efforts to do our good work are stretched too. This means at times like these, we have to change our expectations and plans to meet the challenges that exist. During the past week, I tried to teach with the same depth, but that wasn't a good idea.
In the week ahead, I want to learn from the past week with a focus on the following:
- Good relationships is the number one priority when it comes to teaching well.
- Focus on the key responsibilities is also very important--the daily teaching, supervision, safety, good communication, and positive, helpful response.
- Teach as much as we can as well as we can in ways that include the students' voices, needs, interests, and challenges.
- Make time for needed breaks, personal health, rest, planning and prep.
Teachers lead themselves and their students--they continually have to assess the situation and do what they can to teach well each and every day in landscape that is always changing. We have to work together, help one another, be compassionate, recognize we'll fail from time to time, and learn from our success and error. We have to coach ourselves, our colleagues, and our students and families ahead. Onward.