Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Seize the moment with the question: What is successful teaching in any sphere?

As I navigate remote teaching and learning, I am continually aware of successes and challenges. As I experience this continuum, I am always asking myself the question, how can we use what we learn now to improve teaching and learning overall? What can we do as we move towards the end of the year and onto an unpredictable 2020-2021 school year?

Relationships Matter
Good teaching in any sphere depends on good relationships, and teaching in the virtual sphere depends on positive home-school relationships more than ever. How can we start a new school year in ways that develop awesome working relationships amongst and between students, families, educators, other school staff, administrators, and community members? This is a key question.

Care, Team, Protocols, Mission and Goals
Positive working relationships depend on knowing each other, caring for one another, the willingness to work together and help one another, and shared mission and goals. So to build these strong working relationships, we need to begin with the following statements and actions that exemplify those statements.

  1. I care about you? I want to know who you are and how I can best help you as the educator on this team. In the fall we will have to elevate our efforts to know the members of our team well and learn how we can help them best. Before rushing to judgement or putting place strict learning protocols and programs, we have to understand our sense of team and what we need to do to serve each other well. This is the first criteria for school success in any sphere. Getting to know one another in important ways will depend on a list of integral questions including the following:
    1. Who are you? What is your name? How do I say your name? What do you want me to know about you?
    2. What do you desire this year for yourself, your child, your students, your work together as a team?
    3. What do you need to reach your goals this year with regard to technology, other supplies, learning environment, schedules, tech training and more?
    4. What is the best way to communicate with you--texting, email, phone? Do you need an interpreter? Who should receive communications?
  2. We are a team. We will need to think more deeply about how to build a strong sense of team at the start of the year. As we build team, we need to begin with enjoyable, accessible activities and events that welcome all into the team. Then we need to begin thinking about how we work best and what we need to do to build our team to be a strong, collaborative, productive group.
  3. These are our protocols. We have to create a number of protocols to lead our team efforts.
  4. These are our goals and mission. We have to define our goal and mission clearly and revise as needed. 
Successful Learning Experiences
We have to take seriously the opinions and experiences of students, families, and colleagues when it comes to carefully crafting successful learning experiences that work in any sphere. This will require a lot of thinking, assessments, collegial share, reflection, analysis, and revision. We have to see this as schools anew and go forward with a sense of adventure, open mindedness, creativity, and innovation in order to grow what we know as school in creative and dynamic ways.

Collegial Health, Strength, and Success
As educational colleagues we have to work together to set the guidelines for this work. It has to be reasonable, positive, healthy, realistic and forward moving. There is lots to discuss in this regard. 

Anyone who simply sits back and complains during this time is wasting time and potential. Dire circumstances like this give energy to dynamic change and growth if you allow that to happen. Seize the moment.