As a teacher, have you ever been moved or gotten a new principal? Me too! It is a little scary because you don’t know them and they don’t know you. What do you do? Well, teach, like you always have!
Making his rounds, the principal makes his way to my classroom. He pauses in the doorway, looking around and not sure what was going on. Some students were at the computer station (3 Apple IIGS showing my age here), some at the reading station, others working at desks, some with me. Students moved to deliver completed work to the designated bins for completion, and everyone was on task, but it was a little noisy.
The principal asked if he could speak with me. “What is going on in here?”
I explained, learning. I do things a little differently. You will not find my desks in rows; they will be doing something different all of the time, but they are learning. I wanted to let you know we will turn our history book into a recorded video of a radio station called “History Rocks at Ridge Farm Elementary.” The students are dividing the chapters, writing the scripts, designing assessments, and creating game show trivia for the radio—lots of fun and learning.
The principal did not know what to think but looked around and saw for himself learning in action. Kids need to be actively involved in the learning process, have help in the design, and most importantly, everyone should be having fun!
Through the Cracks is one of my favorite books I have used in the past for professional development. This book reminds all of us about the teaching and learning process. Children become frustrated and disengaged in school settings that do not always meet their needs. The book’s pages walk you through a glimpse of classrooms as elements promote the shrinking of students from learning to then grow. What is the secret?
Accountability is our next step in our SHARE process for the school level, according to Eric Jensen. When the principal made his way to visit my classroom, he was making sure I was teaching. He is accountable for all of the students in the school. As a teacher, I am responsible for the students I am teaching. However, as a team, we are accountable for all together!
“Passion comes from feeling responsible and accountable for results, which means it’s the rigor, intensity, and duration of enriching education you provide that matters.”-Eric Jensen, Teaching with Poverty in Mind pg.82. Every day, hour, and minute counts we have with our students to help them grow. I had a student when I became principal who could imitate me perfectly.
“This is the level of my expectations for all of us, not down here. We are here. I will not lower it for anyone. We are all here.”
Expect the best from everyone, including yourself. “If you are serious about helping students from poverty to succeed, keep this in mind: your 1,260 hours, you have to be so spectacular that they can over-come the other 7,500 hours in your students’ lives.”-Eric Jensen, Teaching with Poverty in Mind pg 83 Now, can you do it?
“Children who grow up in poverty often live in environments that offer less support and stability. (Evans, 2004). Research shows that home and community environments that increase stress lower the development of cognitive flexibility, and the early formation of cognitive flexibility is critical for the long-term prognosis of the skill.”-Horacio Sanchez, The Poverty Problem, pg. 40. Children need cognitive flexibility as it supports problem-solving and allows them to look at issues from different perspectives.
We have lots to unwrap, learn and understand as we serve our children, families, and communities. It is essential to comprehend our accountability level. Take time to reflect on yourself today. Where do you stand with yourself? Always be true to yourself and what you stand for. The world today is making things very difficult as the division line becomes more vital with this “cancel culture.” Please do not find yourself falling through the cracks but crawling to the light to stand up bright for those who need you! People only have power if we give it to them.
Reflect, Review and Renew yourself!
Celebrate Staff! A great book I just read was Love’em or Lose’em by Bev Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans great to add to your list! I want to let you know to make it authentic! I loved to celebrate individuals! Not everyone wants a public celebration; they may want something more private.
School-wide Decision making if you are not already doing this as a practice. If you are review and who are on your teams? Make sure it is reflective of all voices.
Common Planning times-What do your planning times look like?
There are many things to check, but this is a great start! It is critical to self-reflect first. Think about where you are right now. Watching news media, it seems they are saying many have fallen through the cracks. What do we do about it? We have solutions! Painting pictures in a negative light makes us use a bigger brush!
Thank you for being the solution daily! http://www.bethesolutiondaily.com #Bethesolutiondaily