Many administrators expect teachers to “innovate” and create better experiences for our students that go “beyond the test.” I think the expectation is great when the action of the administrator…
Connected Principals Posts
I’ve been on the road a lot lately. And as I travel, I often think about how to reach my destination while also making the experience a positive one. For me, that means trying to learn while I drive by listening to helpful podcasts, audio-books, or news programs. Or sometimes it means connecting with friends […]
Image by John Spencer It is almost winter holidays for many teachers all over North America. At this time of year, it can be extremely stressful as kids minds are…
It is almost winter holidays for many teachers all over North America. At this time of year, it can be extremely stressful as kids minds are often other places, sometimes positive, and sometimes negative, but usually not in the classroom. It can be easy to “check out” yet great teachers all over the world do … [Read more…]
I have written about engagement and empowerment often in the last few years, and it is something that I am passionate about in education. Here are a few quick statements:…
So I had a really interesting experience the other day that I wanted to share. This experience inspired me to make a point of reaching out to people, and connecting…
The film you are about to see was created entirely by students. From beginning to end entirely by students. Every thought word shot line Everything. That’s iHub. That’s the opening to […]
Here’s a reflective question to ask yourself when you’re making decisions about your priorities:
What would happen if you weren’t successful on this one thing?
What would be the ramifications? What would be the price to pay? What would be the cost if this thing did not happen? What would happen if success in this area isn’t made a priority? What would we stand to lose? How would it impact the student, the community, or the world?
Some things are absolutely essential and some things are nice to see happen and some things really aren’t that important at all. Life’s all about priorities. But how often do we just go with the priorities of what’s been done in the past?
How often do we accept the priorities of others without even considering if they are best for kids? How often do we push back against the priorities of the status quo because we know we can do better?
There isn’t enough time, energy, or resources to make everything a priority. We have to make good choices about what’s most important and how to apply our energy and effort. We have to establish the priorities that make the biggest difference.
Here are a few examples of my thinking as I work through this thought experiment…
1. What would happen if I didn’t develop the strongest relationships possible with my students?
I would risk losing the learner entirely. They might just check out and not follow my lead on anything. There’s greater chance of behavior problems, attitude problems, parent problems, and more. If the relationship is toxic, nothing I do will be good enough, interesting enough, or important enough. It’s impossible to have extraordinary learning experiences with mediocre relationships.
2. What would happen if students dreaded coming to our school or my classroom every day?
If students hate school, we know they’re going to be disengaged, distracted, and probably agitated. None of those are good conditions for learning. We can wish they would change and magically love school. Or we can change the school and find ways to reduce the friction. What if we made it harder for kids to hate school? What if we created a place where kids who hate (traditional) school love to learn?
3. What would happen if students didn’t get chances to lead and make decisions in this school?
If they don’t have chances to lead and make decisions now, they won’t be ready to lead and make decisions later. They won’t have opportunities to practice and they won’t be primed for leadership and decision making beyond school. Kids need practice leading and making decisions about their learning. They need agency just as much, if not more, than they need achievement. If I simply learn, I will probably forget. But if I have a strong enough learning identity, there is nothing I can’t learn eventually.
4. What would happen if students didn’t master every standard in this school?
They might not score as well as others on standardized tests. They might have some gaps in their learning. They might have to learn some things down the road if they’re faced with situations where they aren’t fully prepared. But is that really the worst thing? Is standards mastery the key to future success? I don’t think it is.
5. What would happen if students didn’t learn soft skills or develop good character in this school?
I’ll answer this question with another question. Would you prefer to have a neighbor that is a caring person or one who has outstanding academic skills? Of course, having both would be great. If you needed help with some complex math problems, they’d be able to help you and care enough about you to be willing to help you. But if you had to make a choice? I’m picking soft skills and character every time.
So what other questions might you ask to test your priorities and your school’s priorities? If we didn’t do this thing, what would happen? Pour your energy into the things that you know count the most. We get most of our results out of a small portion of our effort. We accomplish 80% of our results with just 20% of our effort. The rest of our effort is lost compared to that 20%. If we can learn to apply effort more efficiently, our overall capacity would greatly increase.
Let me know what you think about this thought experiment. Is what you’re doing today moving your students closer to what you want for them tomorrow? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Twitter or Facebook.
- Don’t Ask For More Until You’re Willing to Risk More
- What Story Are You Telling Yourself?
- 20 Ways to be Future Driven in Your Classroom
I am blessed and truly grateful to be invited to speak at many educational conferences, and I am always appreciative of the opportunity. I have done my best to not…
It’s that time of year where we may be inundated with gifts of thoughtfulness, and I try my hardest to get thank you notes written for each one! I went digging on Teachers Pay Teachers today, and thankfully, found several FREE ones that met my needs! I thought I’d save you the hunt and share with […]
The post Looking for a seasonal thank you note? Here ya go! appeared first on Technically Yours Teamann.
I am all rhymed out but wanted to share what we’re doing this year if you have a care! Share and cleverly steal as we all always do make JOY your priority so special when from you! Ho ho hoN &
In a recent conversation with author and generation expert Dr. Tim Elmore, he shared how many students are affected by “FOMO” (Fear of Missing Out). For many young people, this condition is demonstrated by a preoccupation with wanting to constantly know what is happening with peers or social media contacts. FOMO can sometimes lead to […]
I watched this Kyrie Irving ad, and I am not going to lie, it brought me to tears. I loved basketball as a kid (still do) and I asked my…
I watched this Kyrie Irving ad, and I am not going to lie, it brought me to tears. I loved basketball as a kid (still do) and I asked my dad for a hoop in our driveway. My dad put together the ugliest green piece of wood ever, that was definitely a quadrilateral but neither … [Read more…]
I heard this quote the other day (author unknown): What you don’t know is more than what you know. It was a reminder of the importance of growing and developing…
I heard this quote the other day (author unknown): What you don’t know is more than what you know. It was a reminder of the importance of growing and developing as learners, but also having humility on the journey. Those two reminders for me were evident in Brad Gustafson’s new book from the IMPress team, “Reclaiming … [Read more…]