Well, it has quite a while since I have posted to this blog. Confessions has been the last thing on my mind...such is life.
My summer is now over. I had a wonderful, uneventful June, with most days spent watching TV and lounging around the house in my PJs...now THAT'S the life, isn't it??? Tomorrow I start presenting at a writing workshop for my district. Three weeks of it.
I have just returned home from a fabulous conference by Solution Tree on the PLC process. While I learned a lot, I found some of the pull-out sessions exceptional. As a matter of fact, one particular presenter really impacted me.
I've always thought that teaching children was my ultimate goal in life. I love teaching. I'm passionate about it. As a CIS, I have enjoyed working with students and working with teachers to help them with their pedagogy. But I now feel I am meant for something bigger...more profound...more impactful. All of those adjectives describe teachers and teaching. But for me, personally, it means doing something much, much more with my life.
It is rare that I come home from a meeting or conference and still feel moved days later. That's how I feel right now. I absolutely cannot think about anything else.
Dr. Anthony Muhammad changed my thinking and my life goals in so many ways. To him, I am just a face in the crowd. But to me, he is an inspiration for my loftier (and scarier) personal goals. He presented two pull-out sessions about school culture and the achievement gap. I plan to read his books that I purchased at the conference. As I become more knowledgeable, I will share this process with the empty blogosphere, in hopes that one person may be a support for me on my journey.
To begin...I cannot believe the teacher and mentor I once was. PLC is the hot term floating through the school system right now. But its purpose is real. It's all about learning to teach better. My reponsibilities as a CIS require me to share my ideas and knowledge with my campus. I love doing that. But as a classroom teacher, I must sadly admit, I was horrible at it. Sometimes, great last-minute ideas would pop into my head. Yet, I never shared them with my teammates. I just shut my door and did my thing. What a b$%^&!! I guess, if I'm honest with myself, I felt that if I shared my idea, a teammate might take it and do it better than I had originally planned. That would have been a slap in the face!
What I failed to realize is that sharing and contributing to my team would have improved it as a whole. Teaching isn't supposed to be a competition. We are tasked with teaching all children to the best of our knowledge. By keeping ideas to myself, I not only stiffled the abilities of my team members, I closed myself off to the ideas of others; good ideas that would have made me a better teacher and person.
Why do we do this???? Why don't we embrace each other, learn from each other, practice and perfect the art of teaching with each other??? Why do we hold back and think that we are the only ones with the answers?? The truth is, whatever worked for me one year did not always turn out well the next. But I stuck to my routines. What a diservice I did to my students and myself.
We have to open our minds to what we, as teachers, have to offer each other!! Our world is constantly changing! If we work with each other, share with each other, confide about students with each other, we inspire an entire grade level of students, not just the 40 we may be responsible for.
Something Dr. Muhammad said really struck me. I'm paraphrasing here; I didn't write down what he said word-for-word. I was just so enthralled by my awakening! He said, essentially, that if something I teach isn't mastered by my class the first time, why would I insist on reteaching the same material????? Why would I not go to a colleague who did it better and ask for their help? If it didn't work the first time, why in the world would it work the second time???? What...did I not teach it to the best of my ability the first time? OF COURSE NOT!!! I did the best I could. So I want...no, I NEED the help of my teammates to reteach. Not one single teacher I know does a crappy lesson on purpose the first time!!!! NOT ONE!!! We all do our best the first lesson. So if there isn't mastery, I NEED TO DO SOMETHING NEW!! And who better to learn from than the teacher that had mastery?????
Wake up teachers!!!! We cannot do it alone and every single child we teach deserves our best, and when our best isn't good enough, they deserve our collective best!!!!
So, I feel my journey may take the path of consulting. I don't know what it will look like, but it will be about ideas that work, that impact students and teachers, and I hope one day to inspire someone to learn and do more.
Of course, for now, I need my paycheck! LOL! But reinvigorating this blog may just help me move along my purpose!!
“I’m not out to compete with any one, I’m here to complete, by encouraging and inspiring souls through a text at a time.”
― Bernard Kelvin Clive
Please Google Dr. Anthony Muhammad to find out more about his messages. He also has a website at newfrontier21.com.
*** I am in no way associated with Dr. Muhammad and I get no payment for suggesting him. I was just inspired by his presentations!