Thinking about the conversations with faculty and staff now, as the evaluation process is in full gear, can set the beginning of a new journey. Not a big shift, more like a rudder, unseen but causing the shift into a new direction.
As our society has become more diverse, in color, country of origin, and religion, we should consider the messages that our students are receiving even outside of our schools.As we develop school environments that accept and protect all children from bullying, marginalization, exclusion, or simply being ignored, should we be watching how their larger world is behaving?
How we meet the challenges of the day, our state of mind, our capacity to accept the bad days and the good days for what they are, makes a difference in ourselves and in those we ask to follow us.
We need storytellers who can bring together the hopes of parents and the dreams of their children and the gifts of learning and joys of friendship into the experience of schooling. We need generous storytellers who can let the success story in my school become the story of your school also.
We look for ways to develop perseverance and resilience in our students and ourselves. We work at feeling better, feeling different, not to get caught in the mire. Do we know enough about the dynamics of facing adversity and working our way through it?
We must pay attention to human nature, in our students, in our faculty, staff, and in ourselves. Yet, we may be running headlong into the current changes in education without consideration for the personalities of those adults with whom we work, and the children in their classrooms.
Can we expect teachers who are facing criticism for not teaching to the standards or the changed curriculum, who are not collaborating or learning new information, to listen to even more voices? Will this change behavior or will this serve to shut down more teachers, or worse, leave the opinions of students as the "ace" in the process?
The current reality is that black and Hispanic youth are more likely to be suspended, educated in schools with less experienced teachers, and are less likely to take more rigorous classes in high school than their white peers. Although we may acknowledge poverty exists, do we truly know what cost it extracts?
We have trivialized play to be an optional activity, relegated to children, and only as an extracurricular activity. What if we understood play to be as important as good nutrition, healthy sleep habits, and mental health?
Those who are in the wonders of coding, technology, and the maker movement, are an excited bunch. What they develop and offer students is important and relevant.We need to bridge the gap, come together, and make sense of all of this now.