It's normal to feel nervous about change. There are many moving parts and the unknown is always, well, unknown until it isn't anymore. My subconscious understands this and allows me to work through the concerns while I sleep, so that I can wake up and be the best version of myself when the time comes.
Being an educator requires constant growth. We're always on a stage. Students and colleagues notice everything and since we want to model best behaviors, we must be aware of ourselves. There are many lessons to be learned and taught in non-teaching situations and they happen all of the time around students. One thing is for sure, we definitely recognize that faster and take more opportunities to use authentic moments as teachable.
By getting rid of grades, students can focus on what they know and can do and develop strategies for skills and content they have yet to master. This is a much more inclusive teaching philosophy because no one is expected to be the same.
As we continue to move forward with education reform, we need to model the changes we expect to see in classrooms in the learning we get. It's so important for leaders and learners to see how it's done.
There is no one right way to do anything, but there is a best way for each of us. Learning ourselves well enough to know what that process is and being able to articulate it is essential for future replication and success. So as you work on your next task, try to be conscious of your steps. Reflect on what works and what doesn't work and see if it can be replicated over time.
We must cultivate conversation in our classrooms, real dialogue between more than just one teacher and one student, but rather strive to have the students talking to each other, with us as facilitator. We can scaffold this into our everyday practice, starting with think-pair-shares, writing activities, small group assignments and then full classroom discussions where all student have something different to offer.
At the end of the day, we make our own opportunities, so we can't complain about what isn't happening, but rather focus on what can be done and take that action accordingly. The best learning experiences are the one we create for ourselves both in and out of school, so go find them.
Many of us are able to do things well and make it all look easy. Whether it is maintaining a busy and productive life or being able to write a book or sing a song, just because it looks easy doesn't mean it actually is. We all have our quirks and insecurities and easy doesn't alway mean better. Anything worth doing well is going to take practice and time and the easier it looks, it's likely that amount of mastery took a ridiculous amount of time.
As a teacher of students and of writing, building, nurturing and understanding characters is essential to doing my job well. In the 6th novel, we watch characters we have known become dimensional individuals as we watch our students grow into young adults along the way. We must offer encouragement and support as our students face challenging choices, teaching them to make good decisions without making them for them.
Twitter will always be a go-to place for resources and networking and I will continue to funnel my efforts into helping others find what I have been fortunate enough to experience on it. But it is all with a balance and I've been fortunate enough to find that too.