Saturday, June 23, 2018

Reflecting on the year's struggles and strengths

At the end of the school year before I can begin summer fun and study, I need to reflect on the year's struggles and strengths.

There were many strengths this year, strengths that resulted in good scores, lots of learning, and many special learning events.

At the end of the year, we surveyed students' opinions about our many field trips and experiences and there was lots of positivity about the many events we fostered. Students' big projects were exceptional this year and we fit in lots and lots of learning expectations and experiences. Overall it was a very positive year of teaching and learning. I continue to appreciate our team approach to teaching all fifth graders and believe we all profit from this collaboration, collaboration which also serves to mentor students' ability to team and work together

As expected the year also included struggles--one fact about teaching is that there's always more to learn and get better at. The learning curve is a constant.

I typically dissect struggle into all of its little pieces and find some peace in the matter before moving on.

I look for the promise in problems.

As I think deeply about the struggles in the past year, I am reminded of the lessons learned:
  • Never blame students or families for their circumstances, instead always work to support them in every way possible. 
  • Educate rather than blame.
  • As soon as a problem begins to surface, deal with it--don't let problems fester.
  • Even when afraid of backlash, speak up in the face of injustice and speak up sooner than later.
  • Working collaboratively typically solves problems better than going it alone.
  • Listen to all perspectives and understand where people are coming from with regard to their experiences, desires, goals, and capacity.
  • Give people space and support to do the good work they are capable of.
I am fortunate to work with dedicated, creative, and intelligent people who serve children well every day. They go well beyond the call of duty with the hours they work, the money they spend, and the learning they do to serve children well. I am fortunate to work with such a dedicated team at the grade level, school, district, and state. 

Education is a field of limitless opportunities to work better to serve well--we never run out of ways that we can better teach and serve children and their families. Limitations of time, good process, and apt structures sometimes gets in the way of this potential, however with our good work and collaboration we can overcome many of these obstacles. 

Now it's time to clean the classroom and prepare for summer study, rest, family, and fun. Onward.