So I spent some time looking up a few words this evening: Stupendous, Awesome, Fantastic, Great, Fabulous, were just a few. I wanted to see what Webster had to say about them. After my extensive 5 minutes of research, I still have not found the word I want to use to be able to describe where my school is going. I think we are all of those things and probably more… words that have not even been thought of yet, like #stupenawessivefab! So my search continued until I really thought about where we are currently and where we need to go.
Two words came to mind: Focus and Process
Focus – This came to me a few weeks ago after hearing a voxer post from @GustafsonBrad and talking to my director of schools @PeteLeida. We have focus, but we need to constantly remind ourselves of that. I made the above pictograph to show myself more than anyone else, in simple terms, the focus. I am going to remind myself and the staff that we are here to challenge our students to be 21st century learners by looking at cognitive growth targets, collaboration, making connections, using technology tools, problem solving, etc. What does that mean? It boils down to the tasks we ask our students to do and the questions we ask them to answer. Beyond that, it is the choices and faith to step back as educators, and let them work through the challenges. Working through challenges is the environment of 21st century learners.
Process – We the #cddolphins are Stupendous, Awesome, Great, etc. but not Perfect. We will never be perfect or done. I was reminded of this, just this past week by another innovative PLN teammate @Gelnnr1809 who was showing and writing about how he is challenging his students to fix computers with a makerspace in the hallway during hall changes. That is both crazy and genius! With all respect to Glenn, that idea will not last forever… although I am sure you can get a lot of mileage out of it. Then as educators we find something else. We constantly unlearn to learn again. We beg, borrow, and steal ideas. We change constantly to search for perfection, although we will never achieve it. That is the joy and love of this profession. If you embrace that and have a passion for working through issues with a clear focus, then this work is for you.
I remember Herman Edwards as a football coach saying, “We Play To Win The Game!” There are often sports and education analogies that fit… This one does not… We don’t play to win the game, we play to play and play some more. We never win, we can’t, if you win in education you are saying you are done, reached the finish line, laminate those plans, put them in a binder forever. We can’t do that, use a pencil, have a focus, enjoy the process, and make a mess. Keep it moving, keep celebrating small victories, love your students, and work on!