What a fantastic summer! I’ve been reading recommended books that I have found to be inspiring and I attended EdCamp Leadership, a unique full-day education “unconference,” where those who attend create the agenda of what will be discussed. The sessions and people were all positive and upbeat and it seemed that all the educators left energized ready to put new information into practice… yet there was still more summer ahead!
I was invited to observe a Summer Resiliency Program, a middle school camp offered by the Smithtown School District in Long Island, where the day began with mindfulness and meditation – a very effective way to create focus, teamwork and collaboration. Participating in Twitter Education chat groups such as #edchat, #NYEdcht, #whatisschool, #nt2t has provided the opportunity to exchange comments and ideas with teachers throughout the U.S. and globally. Throughout the month I’ve had phone or face-to-face dialogues with educators or administrators, still the a great way to connect and collaborate!
The discussion has been about changes in education necessary for children to be productive and successful in an undefined future:
teacher and student mindset
gradual release of ownership
supportive parents and supporting parents
eliminating the use of rewards in the classroom.
There are many passionate educators spending time this summer preparing for the upcoming school year; working on how they will engage their students and create rewarding learning experiences. They are collaborating in order to improve their skills and knowledge base. These teachers are models for their students. They demonstrate that learning does not stop over the summer – learning happens anytime, anywhere – not just in school.
I am reassured and energized because I’m learning there is a way for education to move forward in a positive direction. It can happen, and we can’t wait for the next state regulation to be put into place or for the next national “no child shall or race to wherever” initiative. Education can move forward in a positive direction without edicts because of the passion, learning and open dialogues occurring among dedicated educators and administrators. As teachers shift their approach and develop or polish fundamental teaching practices, combined with the available technology, positive outcomes will result. Isn’t this what we want for students?
Educators are at a crossroad. They can choose to think, “this too shall pass” or they can become part of a “Great Conversation”, as described by author Jamie Vollmer in his book I recently read, Schools Cannot Do It Alone. They can be part of expanding discussion among educators, administrators and parents who will do what it takes to get students fired up about learning, rather than making them think, “How many days until the next school break?”
Who’s in? I am!
I will share what I’ve learned from my past teaching and current coaching experiences. I have a personal stake, my grandchildren, ages 4 and 2. I see how excited they are to learn and want to show me what they have learned. Their learning energy is endless and their “I can” mindset is developing. These traits however are as precious as they are. They can be affected positively or negatively by the manner in which they are nurtured and by the learning experiences they are exposed to. I know what I want to see happen. How will you contribute to the effort?
Angelo Truglio, Instructional Strategies Coach