Leadership may not be something that we signed up for when we started taking classes in education. However, it is an unavoidable component of the job and perhaps the most rewarding. Think of yourself as a leader. Recognize the power that you have every time you plan a lesson and greet a child. Appreciate your ability to influence faculty meetings and school agendas, and help parents become the very best parents for their children. Recognize that every day brings new opportunity to engage and inspire, and the tremendous responsibility that comes with such opportunity. Be a leader, today and every day.
This is the essence of teaching. Have a plan for how to teach these students, this content, at this time. Have circumstances derail your plan. Adjust your plan. Watch your plan work but, only partially. Readjust your plan. Then figure out how you would do it different next time.
Sometimes I think that all this homework is a plot to train kids to work some soul-crushing, 80-hour per week UMC job. It’s not teaching them knowledge. It’s training them to sit at a desk for hours and hours.
We no longer have the luxury of resisting change. Technology has become ubiquitous, and teachers will not succeed at maintaining a pre-Internet status quo in their classrooms. Technology must become as ingrained in our students’ formal education as it is in their personal lives.
Very often the lack of choice provided to students is not because teachers don’t want to give choice; it is because they haven’t stopped and thought about it enough to intentionally incorporate it into their practice. Most students have learned to comply and do what they are told without being given choices, so it is easy to forget how important it is to provide it.
Do all teachers take the time to reflect about their learning? I had one educator outright say in a workshop, “I know that reflection is valuable for learning but who has time for it?” If we are to model the idea of being “lifelong learners”, should reflection (and I am not simply talking about writing, but any type of open reflection) be a part of the work that we do?
Too often the disparity between the lessons we intend to teach and the lessons we actually teach causes angst and confusion for students. While we preach the idea of systematic conformity as a route to success, virtually every example of greatness, success, genius, innovation, or profound influence that we use in our classrooms is an individual who did not conform. The current shift to the Common Core State Standards will not change this.
If you are waiting for a workshop to learn how to use Twitter and other social media tools, then you don’t know how your students are learning today. They are not waiting for the adults at school to act. If they are curious, if they want to learn something new, they will learn from others online.