Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Key Ingredient For Change


This post comes at a bitter sweet time in which I am preparing to leave the position I have served in over the past four years to move my family out to Southern California. The time I have spent at Prince of Peace Christian School has been truly special and I appreciate the privilege of working alongside such a dynamite group of people. As I work through this process of transitioning out of my current position, I have been doing a great deal of reflection over my past twelve years in education.

In working with hundreds of different teachers over the years, there is one specific thing that I have found to be true. In my experience, teachers who are continuously learning, growing and seeking to innovate in the classroom have one particular thing in common...they genuinely desire to do what is BEST for kids. In saying this, I fully realize that the tough circumstances of life oftentimes prevent us from doing some of the things we would truly like to do. Regardless, I have found that teachers who have this motivation to do what is best for kids somehow find a way to accomplish amazing things in the classroom. I can recall many examples of teachers who have blown me away with their commitment to professional learning/growth (on their own time) and the continuous application of innovative ideas in spite of some very difficult circumstances.

With this in mind, there are three questions that I believe every educator should ask themselves...

Are the instructional methods I use the really best way to help kids learn and master what I am trying to teach or merely the method that I think is best and/or am most comfortable utilizing? 

Are my assessment methods really the best away to assess learning or simply the most convenient/easiest method? 

If I am not engaging in regular professional learning on my own, is it because I do not have the time or that I do not want to make the time a priority? 

Although these questions can be quite humbling for any of us to consider, honestly reflecting on them can help us identify what our true motivations are for why we do what we do as educators. I encourage you to take some time to carefully consider these questions. At the end of the day, if what we are doing is not what is best for kids, we must ask ourselves why we are doing it in the first place.