Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Days Ahead: Teach Children Well

Every year I choose a word to center and focus my teaching learning efforts. 
The final days of school with children have been wonderful. Educators, with parent support, have led a large number of special events including the fifth grade musical, the Global Changemakers Project, the Global Cardboard Challenge, Boston Walking Tour, Field Day, and Rivers Week. Yesterday when talking to two fifth graders, I mentioned how their grade level really rises and meets project expectations with success. That's a hallmark of this grade level.

As we power through the final events of the year, I'm thinking about the focus for next year--a focus exemplified in the mini poster at the top of the page. As I think of my teaching/learning efforts, my strength continues to lie in what I can do with children and my team, and my challenge continues to lie in administrative collaboration and effort--administrators and I often don't see teaching and learning the same way. The priorities I read about and work for are often not the priorities of the many administrators who surround me though I've received considerable support from outside agencies to forward my research and efforts.

Next year I will dig into my strengths by continuing to build a successful teaching/learning program with colleagues--our program overall has garnered good formal and informal results--students are happy, engaged, and learning a lot. As for the administrative collaboration, I'll look, listen, and think deeply about this. I believe the underlying issue is my desire for greater distributive leadership models that include substantial teacher leadership, voice, and choice while mostly hierarchical models continue to be the mainstay at school. For example I reached out to an administrator recently to say that I had sent him an email and his response was that he had "already ignored it." That characterizes the administrative mindset that troubles me, but it does not characterize the administrative perspective of all that I work for and with.

I've had a lot to say throughout my tenure. I have a lot of ideas. I have tried to lead from my place as a teacher rather than take a traditional administrative path. These are some reasons why I experience this administrator-teacher challenge. So next year, I'll listen more and observe more. I'll think about this issue as I focus on my main work which is to teach children well. As I focus in on teaching well, I'll complete this list of 2018-2019 teaching/learning efforts.

I'm also thinking ten years out and how my focus will also help me to live life well as I look ahead. I will probably always work for and advocate for the rights, supports, and good programs for children. I will likely do this in areas large and small as I truly am passionate about helping children believe in themselves, learn, and forward their lives in ways that bring them happiness and success. That passion is at the center of the work I do and what makes my work and life, in part, meaningful. Hence it is the good work I grow and do with children and their families that is the center of my teaching/learning efforts. Onward.