Well Week 1 is in the books (short three day week with kids), and it has been the most jarring, exciting, intimidating and informative first week of my career. It has helped re-frame my thinking on a number of things. For my last blog post this week I thought I would share those changes that have occurred for me, and see if you had any similar groundbreaking moments yourself this week.
Start Of The Year – Like I said, this have been an exhilarating start up for me in my new school. The kids have been a blast, the staff here is amazing and my energy level is through the roof. I had a thought, a thought that has never crossed my mind during a start-up in my ten years as an educator: I only have 20 of these left. The truth is I have no idea how many start-ups I have left. I am interested in other fields of education including working with new teachers or future teachers, and that may end up with me taking on a different job in the future. At the moment I thought 20 was a safe number, but it was also shocking to think about. There are many times where I have thought “I would love to try this” or “I would love to start with that”, but it always felt like I would have an endless number of chances to do so. I don’t, and I need to start appreciating that fact. We get somewhere in the neighborhood of 30-35 chances to start a year, that’s it, so we should always make them great.
Plan More, Give Them Less – I have been reading up on inquiry, critical thinking and personalized learning, and I found an interesting theme in what I read. Teaching in these ways requires MORE work, MORE planning and MORE thought, but in the end I give them LESS. I give them less paper, less structure, less information, less answers and less control. I also talk less, which is good for everyone involved!
Going Back To The Classroom Was The Best Way To Become A Better Administrator – I will one day return to the world of administration and I look forward to that. I thought that returning to the classroom would be like shutting off the administration side of me, but the opposite is true. I am really learning a lot about what I can do to offer more to a staff, the students and families in a school. We have a great admin team, and I will learn a lot from them, but it is more about what I am seeing in classrooms from students and from what I hear from my colleagues. This is a great school, and the staff and students help me see why. I hope to offer all that I learn to another school in the future.
I Can Share With My Students The “Why” When It Comes To My Teaching – I found a great video that addressed the idea of why Science videos are not an effective way to teach a topic, but rather are better for review of material. I watched it at lunch and learned a lot about how I’ll use videos in my science class. Halfway through the afternoon, I found our class discussion venturing into an area of reflection and meta-cognition, so I thought why not show them this video. After it was over we discussed the “why” involved with making decisions as a teacher and the kids gave me great feedback. I think I trust my students a great deal, but I think I can even trust them a little more and let them see behind the curtain on what I do as a teacher.
A great learning week for me, I hope it was for you as well. If you learned something that changed you as an educator or surprised you in some way, I would love to hear about it.