Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Is it about you or the children?

As I consider the curriculum program and the importance of prioritizing, I am considering the essential question, "Is it about you or the children?"

We all have to check our egos regularly when it comes to teaching and leading well. When a program, initiative, or response becomes more about you than the children you teach and families you serve, you have to right the course?

How might this happen?

I remember years ago a friend of mine who teachers spoke about students who would come to her class each year on transition day with tears because they were going to miss their last year's teacher so much. My friend told me that the teacher gave a long speech about her importance to the children before they transitioned to meet their new teacher, and as you might imagine this did not empower the best of transition days. Instead the best course of action is to tell children that it's been a wonderful year of learning and now they are ready for the next step and another wonderful year. Children follow our emotions and words, they listen and take on our perspectives.

So I think more about this, I am reminded of the most important, initial step of any initiative which is purpose--why are we doing what we are doing? Is the effort well directed? Why?

So this morning as we gather students to discuss environmental stewardship with a former teacher and current environmental activist, I am thinking about what the purpose is here.

The purpose is to learn about an expert in the field of environmental advocacy. The purpose is to be a contributor to the world children live in by helping to clean-up and protect the environment. The purpose is to learn about the geography and nature of our local habitat and to experience many of the live science standards and concepts as well as social-emotional learning related to team work we've reviewed this year. And the purpose is to use students' big energy at the end of the school year in positive ways.

I believe there is good purpose in this event. I believe the purpose is centered on the children, not the adults in the room.

We always have to think about the purpose of our work and we have to assess if it is well directed with regard to children's needs, interests, and passions as well as program standards and expectations. This is a central question for any educational or child-centered endeavor or organization.