So, as some of you who have read my recent ruminations may know,
I have decided to blog every day.
Not because I have so much to say that I need to publish something every day,
but because by making my writing public every day,
I have made a commitment to a daily writing habit.
So, barring any unusual circumstances like no WiFi,
family commitments or
I am blogging every day.
Sometimes I am stuck for a topic to write about.
Sometimes I want to write about topics
that could get me into trouble if I made them public.
Sometimes I forego my instinct and do it anyway.
At other times, I walk along a long and narrow path.
All this is to say that I am pledging
to write at least 100 words a day.
Furthermore, I will add 10 or more words to my total goal every day.
If I’m going strong, why not keep the momentum going and up the ante?
My objective is to eventually write 1,000 words on a daily basis.
But, that would now become more than just a blog post.
To round out this idea even further,
I am going to invite some students to spend 10 minutes writing
at home every day, too.
I can’t wait for this journey to begin!
And, just for the record, before I started writing I had already written 187 words. So, maybe I need to move my goal to 250 or 300 words. Every. Single. Day.
The concerns addressed in this post have been brewing in my head for a while.
I just hadn’t sat down to articulate them…until now.
Any resemblance to recent or future contexts is purely coincidental.
What is depicted here is a generic portrait of institutionalized thinking around professional development..
This post is written as an interrogation between an imaginary reporter (IR) and a teacher (T).
IR: What do you learn in school wide teacher workshops?
T: What the administration deems important.
It’s a one size fits all arrangement.
Whether or not it is a good fit for teachers
is not the point.
If everyone did something different,
how would the school keep track of that?
It would be too messy.
Besides, how would a school make sure
that there is consistency from grade to grade?
You see, differentiation and choice
are not meant for teachers.
IR: Who is doing the learning at school wide teacher workshops?
Some teachers, I’m sure,
but not everyone.
Take a teacher who already know this stuff.
It’s too basic for her.
However, if she focused on something
that was more relevant to her students’ needs,
then her classroom practice could improve.
Unfortunately, if there is a school wide PD focus,
then there is no one available to support her.
So, does she take a risk
in order to do something new and different in her classroom,
or does she simply do the same ‘ole, same ‘ole?
Stick with the status quo?
Travel the safe path?
Well, it depends
on how brave she’s feeling in any given year.
IR: Who decides what topics are addressed at school wide teacher workshops?
T: It’s usually the administrators.
Somebody has to approve it, right?
If not, teachers would do silly things
like take up knitting for their PD
or practice yoga to center themselves
after a long day of teaching.
(Not that I have anything against knitting or yoga.)
And, even when teachers can choose their PD activity,
they have to prove they’ve done it.
It’s the same thing teachers do when they control students’ reading
by having them fill out endless reading logs.
It’s a little about trust,
another bit about faith,
and a lot about respect.
IR: What needs to change?
T: Finally! You asked the million dollar question!
What needs to change is for teachers to be trusted
to figure out what they need to learn next
and how to best do that.
What needs to change is for schools to stop
one-time PD events that may be nice in the moment,
but that don’t make a difference in teaching or learning
in the long run.
What needs to change is for teachers to be the last asked
about their professional development needs.
What needs to change is for collaboration to be forced
on teachers. Sometimes, it’s OK to learn alone.
What needs to change is for the “professional”
in professional development to be taken seriously.
Then, and only then, will teachers experience learning
that makes sense to them.
Earth Day is designated
as the one day during the year to focus
on the environment.
A day to honor
A day to renew our commitment
to the environment
habits and activities
detrimental to a healthy Earth.
The first Earth Day took place
more than 40 years ago.
A lifetime for some,
but a second of time
in the history of the Earth.
given the short sojourn
of humans on Earth,
that we have done so much
to make the Earth vulnerable
in order to make our lives easier.
We never considered
what we might lose
in the process.
Until it was too late.
Earth Day was born as a reminder
that we are on this beautiful planet
for only a short while.
So, we must be stewards of our home.
We must take care of it.
It’s really as simple as that.
and not just on April 22nd
of any given year.
Not only have humans
accelerated climate change
caused changes in the ozone layer
accelerated pollution of all forms
negatively impacting animal and human life,
but we have lost a critical connection
to the place we call home –
The Pacha Mama.
And, we have lost a vital connection
with each other.
we try to reconnect
with the Pacha Mama
by making changes to plant
literally and figuratively,
to make Earth healthy again.
Happy Earth Day.
Warning: this post is full of questions. No definitive answers, yet. Maybe never. This is an ongoing process. The answers change. The questions may stay the same. Either way, I’m on a constant search for improvement.
I’m currently wondering:
- How to teach all that I know is important for the students I have this year. And, how to include my students in these decisions.
- How to make sure I spend just the right amount of time conferring.
- How to listen more and talk less.
- How to better honor student thinking. To understand without judging so all ideas are respected.
- Whether or not I’m making a difference in my students’ learning. How can I know for sure?
- About the myriad ways that literacy and numeracy are connected, and can support and enrich each other.
- How to be more patient with myself and my students. Less rushed. More in the moment.
- How to be more efficient and effective with mini lessons. Conferring. Planning.
- Why I’m still pondering these same issues year after year.
Waiting is hard for me to do.
I’ve written about this before.
If not, I’ve thought about this before.
I try to talk myself out of thinking about what I’m waiting for,
but I can’t.
I try to be reasonable.
I say things like, “Let go. Let the universe take care of things.”
But, I can’t.
I take lots of deep breaths.
In. Out. In. Out. In. Out. In. Out.
But, I can’t.
I try not to check my email every 5 minutes,
but I can’t.
I try to do something else.
I read a book.
I watch a movie.
Then, I check my email.
And, the cycle starts all over again.
If I could truly let go of what I want,
then maybe it would come to me
when I’m ready to receive it.
Easier said than done.
Waiting is hard for me to do.
This afternoon there was an electrical storm.
Apparently, we’ll be experiencing these more often this month
at the same time that the bad weather starts to diminish.
Hopefully, May will be a better month, for the weather
and for changes I am hoping for.
Winter here has never been like this before.
In fact, we’ve never had an actual weather report before.
The weather here is generally constant in the winter.
Sunny skies, rain in the afternoon, sunny skies after that.
Temperatures hovering between 15 and 20 degrees
with a strong sun in the middle of the day.
But, this winter all we’ve had is
rain, rain, and more rain.
Cold temperatures that linger and linger and linger.
Fortunately, today I worked late as I waited for my son
who was practicing for the school play.
So, I didn’t experience the electrical storms
though I heard the noise but didn’t see the lightning,
if that makes sense.
My husband was at home
and that was a different story.
There was a power surge.
The lights went out.
And, so did the TV.
Our second-hand TV is dead.
I could be sad about that.
But, I’m not.
I’d rather read anyway.
My husband is definitely not happy.
No more soccer matches.
No more local news channels.
No more cooking shows.
Only Netflix on my computer