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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Caring for Children Keeps Us Centered

I've only been away from school for a week and my think/work has expanded well beyond the day-to-day classroom needs and events. I like to think big and wonder about ways that we can work to make this a better world.

Come Monday though, the children will quickly center me on what's important with regard to teaching well. They'll enter the room with a variety of moods and actions alerting me right away to their current needs.

I'll make the time to observe, respond, and let them settle in with a quiet, open task of reading, writing, or drawing at their desks. Then we'll attend our school assembly which will remind students about our community warmth, protocols, and focus. We'll have some time for recess, play, and snack and then we'll begin our focus on the new year of learning.

I'll remind students that I'm there to serve them, and that they should let me know if there's something they need in order to learn well and feel safe and comfortable at school. I'll also remind them of our school goals which are to master that "long list of standards" because we know "knowledge begets knowledge" and to also learn and study the subjects we're interested in and curious about in ways that matter (pbl, hands-on, inquiry-based. . .). I'll ask them what they want to add to our agenda too. They know that their ideas matter so I'm sure they will share.

The students know I'm committed to helping them develop a strong learning foundation, one that will help them have greater voice, choice, and success in the future. They also know that I'm not perfect and sometimes they have to help me make the best decisions with regard to helping them because I want every child to learn with happiness and success. In our class, we work together.

I believe that family members and colleagues also know that my partner teacher and I want to make every effort to help every child succeed. To date, families and colleagues have been comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas with us with regard to developing a dynamic learning community. We will continue to invite the ideas of all members of the learning community and respond accordingly. It is terrific to have a teaching partner because when it comes to building a dynamic team, our work profits from two sets of ideas, lenses, and experiences. We also work in conjunction with a larger grade-level team that also supports our work with care and contribution.

I'm sure my thoughts and work will continue to extend beyond the school room doors during the rest of the vacation, but come Monday, the children will "put me in my place" as their teacher and caretaker, a role I'm happy to fulfill.