The morning after the 2016 election, a first-period 11th grade English class sat in front of me visibly subdued. I knew, from my own experiences, that if I did not acknowledge their discomfort and fear, they would learn nothing...
As a teacher, I have intimate knowledge about how the education system may not act in her best interest. At three, she has yet to experience the wide range of road bumps and brick walls that she will have to navigate and negotiate. But, as an educator, I know the power of educators.
Whenever my students don't know what to do next, I tell them to do what seems like the next right thing. Even one small step forward counts as progress. It's time for me to take my own advice.
Let's all make the moments to 'cuddle' our students in a rich discussion, share family stories, ask their opinions, take selfies, dance to music, appreciate falling snowflakes, or whatever the moment brings. Our students will little remember the weekly spelling or reading quizzes, but they will no doubt remember how they felt when they were in our classrooms.
If educators want to ensure that our new colleagues are actually prepared to work with us, they need to be involved in the accountability systems that are being built now in every state.
I offer five leadership-themed videos (each under four minutes) that you can use to keep yourself and your team inspired to start, continue or reflect upon the important work you do together.
However hard and unsettling this work might be for everyone, providing steady, stable support for our teachers' learning is THE MOST IMPORTANT work we can do.
My colleagues and I work quickly in complex environments to perfect our craft. It is our ongoing, human interactions that inform our expertise--helping a child whose mother has died, finding food for a student who had no breakfast, or teaching a class not to bully a new student who seems different.
There are dozens of books and theories about working with students who struggle behaviorally. While I appreciate many of the methods, I am convinced that in the end, it's about the effort we make to build a trusting relationship even when it is difficult.
Policy is written by people who have a specific point of view. Though they may have read research that you haven't, they do not know more about any of the challenges in education than you do.