Saturday, 25 August 2012

Remember, We Know What We're Doing

Maybe it's just me, but my head is already spinning with only two weeks of school under our belts.  I know, the beginning of the school year is always going to be hectic.  With Open House, Parent Night, and CWW, how can it not?  And this year, we've also got technology migrations, PLC meetings, and PD opportunities after school and on weekends.

Don't get me wrong, it's all good.  I'm excited about where we are heading, and I'd love to be able to do it all.  The problem is I can't.  And when I try, I end up feeling like I don't know what I'm doing.

The thing is we do know what we're doing.  Need some proof?  First, look at our students.  They are coming to us as more sophisticated readers and more eloquent writers.  The work we are doing in our classrooms day in and day out is making a difference.

Next, look at our colleagues.  I was fortunate enough to sit in on a Grade 8 PLC meeting recently, and the level of personal connection and professional collaboration between teachers inspired me.  Earlier this week, a number of colleagues shared effective ways to use iPads in our classrooms.  Rich, meaningful conversations are happening daily within partnerships and across teams, and they make a difference.

Finally, look in the mirror.  Each one of us brings a unique perspective to the table that has been informed by our years of experience as a reader, writer, and lifelong learner.  We rely on these experiences every single day as we work alongside our students, and by drawing on them, we make a difference.

It's just that in our busy teacher lives, we forget to look around when we're always looking ahead.  As I said, I'm not against looking forward at all, but if that's the only thing we're looking at, we lose focus.

It reminds me of what I just said to my students' parents on Parent Night.  Remember when we used to correct every mistake on a student's paper before handing it back to them?  They sat there holding their marked up papers, eyes glazed over.  We were only giving feedback right?  Well, that's what I feel like as a teacher some days.  I'm just simply overwhelmed at all the things I'm supposed to do to get better.

Instead, I told the parents the other night, I now determine the one area that needs fixing the most for a given student.  I teach him strategies and techniques to overcome that deficit.  Since it's the only focus, the change is manageable and meaningful, and the impact is greater.  That's exactly what we should do as teachers.

So, as we settle in to the routine of the new year, I know that I've got lots of things to work on, but I'm only choosing one for now.  If I try to do them all, I know that I won't do any well.  

How about you?  What's that one thing that you want to tackle this year and "get it right?"  Once you've chosen it, let me know.  Maybe I can help.  After all, the one thing I've chosen this year is to help my colleagues in any way that I can as your Literacy Coach.

1 comment:

  1. Scott, if I only choose one goal, I'm likely to be two steps behind on the things that are day to day survival such as Mac migration, Google Drive, Google dashboard,standards grading etc. My inclination is to choose a goal pertaining to math, but if I don't attend to all the other stuff, I constantly feel two steps behind which still equals being overwhelmed! JC