As I continue to grow in my new position, I'm learning the value of building the relationships and trying to understand what different stakeholders want and need so that I can better communicate what we need to do in a way they can hear it. Although I may not be able to challenge state assessments yet in NY, I know that there are alternative pathways and assessments for some students and I also know that there are schools exempted from the state tests.
Being new is never easy, but it does have its benefits. Learning to trust takes time and forgiveness and a willingness to bounce back and try again, maybe just in a different way. We can't give up on each other, that's no way to grow.
Learning is deeply personal and engaging when done right, and every school can be developing lifelong learners by setting up expectations that involve student and teacher participation.
Guest blogger Dr. Douglas Green shares how he applies the lessons in Christopher Emdin's book, "For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood ... and the Rest of Y'all Too."
When we consider what we teach students, we must ask ourselves why every piece of content is where it is. Who owns the learning and how can we empower students more and more to be in charge of what it looks like?
Leaders in schools come in all shapes. How a character in "Dead Poets Society," teacher Mr. Keating, can be a model for earning students' trust and respect.
We cannot afford to cut funding to the arts. It is the arts that generate a sense of humanity that connects all of our contents together. As classroom teachers of any content, we must consider the powerful skills associated with the arts and incorporate them into all of our lessons. Whether drama or art, media formats or music, the addition to these assorted techniques can enrich any learning environment.
Schools don't have to keep doing things the way they always have, not in terms of curriculum, assessment or learning spaces. There are ways to start making changes that can truly inspire and reinvigorate the learning process.
Because I need that creativity all of the time, especially in my job, I need to find ways to better center myself in the thick of all of it. When I was in the classroom, my students and experiences drove deeper learning that I wrote about and shared, there is nuance in the leader role that doesn't allow for the immediacy of that exchange any longer. However, since I'm learning new things all of the time, I need to find a way to channel that learning curve into shareable nuggets.
Ultimately, as reflection often does, it has led me down a rabbit-hole of more questions that I hope will shed light on the path to take for next year as the journey continues. I'd like very much to be as great, if not better at this than I feel about my abilities in the classroom. And although I've been reminded to stop thinking like a teacher, there is a part of me that will always retain those connections and commitment so I can continue to empathize and build capacity to the best of my ability.