Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Most Important Thing

On Saturday night I lost a former student. She was just 17 years old--and already doing amazing things with her life.

My job this year has been a tedious one, introducing a standards-based report card, going 1:1 corporation wide, and helping all of our teachers learn the ins and outs of a new learning management system. It's been pure craziness. Lots of frustration...but nothing like the frustration of losing a young woman far too soon.

My job is all about technology, but I am also an instructional coach for classroom climate and culture, and in these last days I've been thinking about what is most important in our classrooms...what is the foundation of it all for our students? I am convinced it is not technology, nor curriculum--it is relationship. If we build relationships with our students (and our colleagues,) we have the best chance in achieving success in all other areas of academia. Once we commit to this, amazing things begin to happen.

Mattea, my young friend that has passed too soon, was a student I had built relationship with--it is the reason why 6 years later, the loss hits me hard. In building a relationship with her, I saw how she went on to build relationships with others, and I believe she saw the importance in this, too. She was doing great things because of her ability to reach out and form meaningful relationships that supported what she was set out to do. 

What we do as educators is important. We must have a vision to move forward. To help students excel at this thing we call life. Today I would ask you to remember that relationship is the foundation of it all. That in the end, it will be those interactions we will have had with others, not the tech or curriculum, that will always be--the most important thing. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Do You Have a Risk Attitude?

I've been thinking a lot about some terminology I came across recently. An article I was reading talked about how we need our students to have a "risk attitude" when it comes to learning, collaborating, building ideas, putting their learning out into the world for all to see...but what about us? What about the teachers? Don't we need a an attitude of risk as well? 

What happens if we the teachers, principals, administration don't become vulnerable enough to to take risks? What happens if we use our energy to push aside learning new technology, new ways of connecting our kids to learning, not just through us, but through all that is available on line? What if WE are not willing to take the risks to make this happen? Well--our kids will suffer...and aren't we all about preparing our kids for their future? As soon as we put more focus on ourselves and feeling defeated about all that is asked of us--we sell kids short. 

I've decided that with all that is before me with the task of learning about blended learning and what it means for my district, I will take on a risk attitude...and the students in my community will be better off because of my commitment to it. 

For more on being vulnerable and taking on a risk attitude--watch Brene Brown's video below, and read her book Daring Greatly

Brene Brown on Vulnerability