As we consider what is best for students, we must remember that they are more than a number. Let's provide them with the feedback they need to progress, the language they need to reflect on learning and the strategies to keep growing.
There are many ways to communicate learning with students. Whether providing comments on Google docs, sending Voxes or short videos, teachers have many means to effectively communicate with their learners. We need to know our students well enough to select the best means for each one. Know how your students like to hear feedback and then do your best to provide it in that manner.
In five minutes, with no props or preparation, I shared with passion the direction we need to go to serve all students in education - away from grades, testing, homework and toward a more authentic, experiential, portfolio-based learning experience that prizes all students in an equitable way.
Being an educator requires constant reflection. Every choice and action should be transparent and thoughtful and connected to the district-wide goals. Accessing my strengths, focusing my energy on being attentive to the needs of those on our team is essential for my continued growth as an educator and person. So I'm just going to keep pushing, keeping the big picture in mind without allowing the daily minutia to get me down. We simply can't sweat the small stuff, just keep moving forward.
It takes time to grow a garden and to build a team. This year, I wasn't sure that I had made any impact, but now over time, the changes are starting to happen. So lets plant seeds and do whatever it takes to ensure their growth.
My early teaching days were littered with crazy mishaps and expectations that often mimicked my perfectionist student ways. Always eager to please and be the best version of myself, I tirelessly worked to be a perfect teacher and (as you can imagine) often failed to meet that mark. Teaching is an art and it takes time to master, but I almost never factored in my lack of teaching experience into the expectation. After all, I was a great student, so I should have been able to be awesome at teaching immediately. Wrong! Of course, I know that now, but as ...
Those thanks that we share do make the hard days easier, but there is no reason for them to only to occur during teacher appreciation week. Educators should and can be acknowledged and appreciated every day school is in session.
When you're interviewing for a new job, remember that leaders are watching everything. Make sure to dress professionally but sensibly. Come prepared and ask a lot of questions. Be visible. Move around a lot and try not to sit for the period. Make sure to show what you know about differentiation and be intentional about how and what you are doing with the students. Be transparent. Don't forget to write a quick thank you for the opportunity.
So leaders, if you get a chance, go into a classroom, not because you're doing walkthroughs or because you have something to say, but just for the sheer joy of watching students learn and observe their interactions with their peers and their teachers. It will give you a lift.
Looking back on the experience now, I'm glad I was able to provide them an authentic opportunity to collaborate and I could facilitate their getting the work done. There is nothing I like more as a facilitator than watching a healthy team work together toward a common goal and then achieving the goal with a product that will make their lives easier. That's really what it is all about.