Sunday, October 28, 2018

Encouragement and Discouragement

Much like the little cartoon to the right teaching, like learning, has its ups and downs. As I look through past posts, I can see times of utter frustration to times of wonderful triumph and everything in between. Similar to life, teaching is not a flat path, but a path of hills, valleys, and plateaus.

As I look forward in my career, and think about the goals that I have for my practice, I want to acknowledge this bumpy career path that I've chosen, a path with lots of people, tremendous activity, and considerable change. I like the fact that in many ways it's not a static job, and it's a job where I'm active with a great variety of activities and events.

One challenge to teaching well is the time available and how one uses that time. Sometimes issues that create struggle arise from a lack of good time, space, and support to do the work required. This kind of challenge can nag at us if we don't plan well and think creatively about the time, space, and supports we have.

For example, with regard to relatively new curriculum, there's never been substantial time to organize, review, prepare, and then teach this module even though I do have the equipment and space to teach the information in engaging ways. I'll set aside a day or two in the month ahead to do this prep work, work if done well will serve teaching well into the future.

Also, in education, there can be gnawing problems. For example I long for more transparent, open, communicative teaching/learning environments where factual information is shared readily via newsletters and time when we meet as educators is used well to share ideas, develop our work, and empower our teaching/learning community. I want to see processes streamlined, hierarchy mostly flattened, greater leadership for all teachers, and greater teacher voice and choice with regard to curriculum decisions, schedules, timelines, and change. One struggle that teachers often face is that they are not treated with respect or care, but instead treated as if they are children. I believe this may occur more in elementary schools than higher level schools, but I'm not sure. To truly make change with regard to teacher leadership, voice, and choice demands that system roles, structures, and schedules change, without change old time, oppressive structures will remain. When educators' needs are heard and responded to with dedication and respect, learning communities develop in positive ways, however when educators' needs are dismissed or ridiculed, then learning communities suffer.

Today I'll make a more realistic and doable schedule for the curriculum work I need to do ahead, and work at refining the work and study that I'm focused on now. Yesterday's ATMIM Conference gave me many great ideas and resources to pull from for that development. Onward.