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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Lack of Choice and Voice Hinders Potential Possible

It still puzzles me why teachers in classrooms have little choice and voice when it comes to classroom needs and teaching initiatives. I wonder why those who lead us wouldn't take seriously our point of view, research, and experience when it comes to forwarding curriculum and teaching efforts. The lack of choice and voice truly demeans teachers and makes most of us feel like peons, robots, and do-its, not the professionals we've trained to be.

I've spoken up about this time and again only to be told to back down, stay quiet, and do as I'm told. Yet research points to the need for educators to play an integral part in the work they do to serve children well.

I need my job and I will do what I'm told as long as it doesn't harm children, but I know that I could do a much better job if I had greater voice and choice over how I do my work. This is a main concern that educators in many school settings face. The remedy to this is to modernize leadership models, system structure, and the use of distributive leadership to better what we can do as collaborative learning/teaching teams made up of all stakeholders: students, family members, educators, administrators, and community members. Onward

Consistency versus Change

As I did a bit of work to prepare for move-up day and next year's class, I recognized the power of consistency. Knowing that I'll be working with the same team and relatively same program, offers me and my team a chance to build and develop what we can do for children.

The role of consistency like ours is valuable to good school programs. Too many changes at too rapid a pace can disrupt an environment so that good, rich development does not occur.

On the other hand, sometimes change is just the right choice too. Yet, too many changes, or changes without inclusive, transparent share and collaboration can hinder good progress. Change needs to occur with a thoughtful eye on what is best for the learning community. It should not be a knee-jerk reaction.

There were a few years there where my grade level and position was changed every one or two years--that truly was disconcerting and difficult when it came to deep, positive collaboration and program development. I think that educational leadership has to be very careful about the decisions they make about teacher and team changes, and as much as possible, those decisions should not be done to teachers but instead be a collaborative decision involving all stakeholders.

Good education evolution includes the right mix of consistency and change. That mix is one best determined by inclusive, strategic decision making processes that include all stakeholders--that is a good direction with which to build strong teaching/learning organizations.

Apres Play Focus

The school play was sensational, and I know that the children will be weary today due to the fact that they gave the performance their full attention and energy. Also the evening performance meant late nights for all.

Today students will return to their rotations routine of moving from class to class as they work on the biography project and focus on end-of-year math program requirements.

Students will work online using a math learning menu to complete a number of expectations. Tomorrow and Friday, they'll complete the end-of-year systemwide assessments, and then most math will become part of our STEAM study.

Biography Project
Students will work on this effort in a large variety of ways in the days ahead.

Human Body Systems: Changing Bodies
In fifth grade, students learn about puberty and changing bodies as well as an age-appropriate introduction to the reproduction system. We share the information with parents ahead of the unit so that parents can provide students with a preview, ask question, and if desired, opt out of the school-based program for their children.

STEAM: Naturalist Thread
Our STEAM projects will connect with the fifth grade play, Cap Runamuck, and take on a naturalist thread as students investigate and design for safe living and exploring in the outdoors. That thread will culminate with an outdoor adventure.

Queen of Katwe
Throughout the year the students watch films that help to broaden their world view, understanding, and perspectives. When there's an opportune time, we watch sections of each film. Right now we are watching The Queen of Katwe at the recommendation of a student. This film, like the others we have watched is broadening students world view in important ways. I want to remember to use Close Captioning with films as it truly helps students' reading and understanding.

More Celebrations
Students are readying for their instrumental performance that will occur soon, Field Day, field trips, and other important end-of-year events.