Friday, June 30, 2017

Areas of Focus Next School Year

I recently read a post by Starr Sackstein on Education Week.  As a connected educator, I am always reflecting, questioning, and thinking about changes I can make.  Starr's blog post had 5 areas of focus, which I will also use to guide my thinking about next school year.

Next school year brings a lot of excitement for me.  Most of you know I spent the past 2 years in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Although I learned a lot in my experience, I am eager to move back home to Ohio.  I will continue teaching Kindergarten at a brand new building.   Below are my 5 areas of focus for my new chapter:

1. Build Relationships - "We are better together" is a saying that never escapes me.  From day 1, I make it a priority to build relationships with students, families, and staff members.  I find that building a positive partnership with families leads to optimal success in the classroom.  I look forward to working with a new staff and team to see what we can do together for our student's learning experiences.

I always like gaining new ideas.  Comment with 1 idea you use to build relationships with students, families, or staff.

2. Ask Questions - With teaching in a new school, district, and state, there will be a lot for me to re-learn since I haven't taught in Ohio for a few years.  As Starr mentioned in her post, adults need to model this behavior.   I will ask questions to clarify, learn, stretch my thinking, and encourage.

3. Take Risks - I am not a teacher who does the same thing every year.  While there are some structures, routines, and lessons that remain consistent over the years, I believe in making changes to fit my student's needs.  This upcoming school year, I am going to continue trying new things or refining what I am doing.   I have recently read fantastic professional reads such as Disrupting Thinking that had some bold messages for educators.

4.  Lead - That one word has a lot of associations involved.  When I say lead, it does not have an authoritative meaning attached to it.  I want to lead by embracing change, lead with positivity, lead by collaborating, lead by communicating, lead with kindness, lead with a willingness to learn.....  All educators should aim to lead with intent in their classroom, school, and community.

5. Balance - I will graduate with my masters degree in literacy this December.  I have a lot of pride with this because I am earning my masters degree from the college I attended for undergrad.  I absolutely love what I am studying, but I look forward to having more free time on nights and weekends.  Completing a 30 credit masters degree in 18 months had come with many late nights and not much free time.  Fall will be very busy as I complete my research, but the finish line is in sight.  Throughout the school year I will work on taking more time for myself so I can be the best version of myself for my students.  Each school year I continue to work on balance.  Since I am living closer to my family and friends, I plan to make balance even more of a priority.