Friday, August 11, 2017

Dear Comfort,

Dear Comfort,

It's been fun Comfort, but  it's time for you to go!
My old friend, welcome to another school year.  As we start weaning ourselves off of summer break and begin to think about setting up our classrooms and readying our plans and resources to take on another group of kids, I thought I would let you know I have been doing some thinking.  Though this is not easy for me to bring up for fear of rocking the boat and perhaps being isolated or viewed as a rogue, I must take a stand for our kids as I truly believe we can make a difference in preparing them for their futures.

You see, I have been thinking a lot about our important role as teachers. Maybe it’s because I’ve been realizing things through my own child’s experience, whose education to this point has resembled my own when I was his age. Unfortunately, we discuss the same game plan of how to get that A and simply survive school. To tell you the truth, I get really angry when I have to coach him through this game we call school, all the while knowing that there is little joy in his learning experience and he is simply doing school because I preach to him that we have all had to go through this and he will just have to suck it up in hopes it will lead to a much more prosperous college experience, knowing that even that is probably a lie. Selfish reasons aside, we have to realize that the needs of our kids are no longer the same as when we wrapped up last school year. To tell you the truth, our kids have been needing much more from us for a lot longer than that, which is hard for me to admit as it is my job to educate and help our kids to grow with their future success as the goal.


My friend, those routines we used to really look forward to -- setting up our seating charts and sending in our first semester worth of printing of those worksheets aligned with our carefully mapped out pacing in order to get our content in before the end of the grading period -- are things we do because that is what we have been taught and what is comfortable for us. I gotta tell you, those days are gone! Though I don't know exactly how or what something different will look like, or how we will assess it, or how our evaluator will respond to a change of any kind like this, ethically and morally, and selfishly, I need to find a different way of doing things. I can no longer stand by and do the same thing because that is the way we have always done it. I have to change the way I look at educating our kids for their sake, and I know this will mean work and discomfort for me. I might not know exactly what I'm doing, which is a real fear!  I Know I will be tempted to fall back into my previous routines, checking boxes because that is what is comfortable, but I know that I have to try.


My hope for us is much more than just another comfortable school year. My hope is that you will join me in taking some risks, trying some new things -- for the kids!  I am done with watching kids as they wait for permission to take part in their education, or worse, find no value and take no part in it altogether.


I challenge you to come on this journey with me. It will not be predictable, and it is not like anything we have ever done before. But, what I do know is we can no longer choose to sit by in comfort as we watch our kids increasingly become disengaged and view their education as pointless.  We have a great opportunity to do something amazing here, and I challenge you to come along with me!

I have learned a lot from you my friend, but Arrivederci!

1 comment:

  1. I am with you Jamie! Over the Summer I read a book this entitled "Trouble Makers: Lessons in Freedom from Younger Children at School", written by Carla Shalaby. She has taken my educational philosophy and placed it on overdrive and underscored the part of education that can NOT be quantified with a grade.
    #1 Kids act out out because a basic need is not being met. Such as attention from an adult, fear, rejection, or because the child is a leader in the clss, and does not know the correct way to make their ideas heard.
    #2 Relationships count with kids. Yes, we know this, and it's easy to build a relationships with those "good kids". But, we MUST build kind, loving relationships with those kids that are difficult. Those kids that drive us CRAZY. Those kids who are defiant.

    #3 - Give kids opportunity to fail, to learn from their failures AND to correct their mistakes. Sounds easy, but it's not. Nobody likes failure. But, I want to build a classroom where kids know that if they are not making mistakes, they are not learning.
    I am with you, 100% Jamie!
    J. Moran

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