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.
Forcing our children to go to school for more days is not the answer. There other solutions available to supplement a child's education while still providing them time to explore the outside world.
School wide meetings are presented in the abstract, using concepts and numbers that aren't connected to real kids or real situations happening in our classrooms. It is time for administrators to acknowledge teachers as learners and to use the auditorium as a classroom full of the same obstacles and opportunities faced by teachers every day.
As with effective lesson planning, we have to begin with the end in mind. We have to set our sights on an intended greater purpose. We have to know what we hope to achieve. This is the fundamental difference between being a "missionary teacher" or a "mission-minded teacher."