Even if the world became 1% more kind in the next year, I think that would make a big difference in how we all feel in our day-to-day lives.
As the fellowship took shape, each teacher brought assets of their own that they knew could work, but also a willingness to learn that came from not seeing their approach as “the” answer. In the words of improv comedy, they came with bricks rather than a cathedral. This kind of openness to inclusion would be key to ideation and innovation. The smartest person in the room may be the room, but only when everyone who should be is in the room.
By focusing on teachers as assets, rather than gaps to be trained in a new way of thinking, the stage was set for the inquiry necessary to launch the fellowship.
When we listen to the educators who are working closest to our students every day and allow their insights to inform planning for professional learning, the plan gets better.
Let's listen. Let's build alongside educators and students. We cannot expect people to feel ownership and engagement in something that they were not a part of building. Imagine what we can do if we build together.
Perhaps we should start by loving ourselves as educators. As Mr. Roger once said, "You can't love someone else until you love yourself first." Through all of the hard stuff. The mistakes. The days when we just aren't feeling it.
I wonder if this is what we are missing in some of our "data" meetings in schools. Do we have pictures of kids at the table? To start, they are our WHY. They are why we want to be better. That's a big part of our identity as educators. But also, setting goals for improvements is nice, but it's not the work. The work is the small moves made over time that can make a big difference. Too many data meetings sound like, "We need to get these scores up." Well, yeah. We know. But how? And because we don't know what the best strategy or step to take is, we may not take a step.
We are at a crossroads. We can survive this year, and go back to school as it always was, or we can start planning now for what's possible in the future. We've already proven that we can do hard things. Imagine what we can accomplish with future-oriented intentionality.