As the families gather on the compound my eyes scan the crowd for his familiar face. We promised we would find each other on the first day. You see, I know he is nervous and he knows I am too. Singer, songwriter Ani DiFranco sums it up best: “I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap.” We are both new. This is where we overlap. It is his first day here as a student and it is my first day as Assistant Principal. Each fall, schools open their doors to new faces. From the Old French word 'comunité', meaning commonness or everybody, “COMMUNITY” is the word that comes to mind as I watch the students, parents and teachers embrace the excitement of the morning. Everybody is here with a common goal and the energy is palpable. There is a tug on my dress. I look down and see my new friend. “Ready?” he says.
So what did I learn today? I learned that every child has something important to say about their learning and they will amaze us daily when we let them. So…. I am spending my first days being amazed.
Jennifer George is Assistant Principal at Douglasdale School with a passion for literacy, history, and curriculum that inspires. Twitter @firgeorge
What I learned in School Today
A lifelong learner never stops learning. As a teacher I have learned many lessons. Among them, this is some of my most cherished learning:
While some of these may seem “rose-colored” in nature, it would serve us well to always be open to growth and change to meet, and exceed our potential. The same holds true for the students whose lives we impact. There must be joy and passion in our work with students.
Kevin Bauer has been a teacher for 33 yrs. Working in provinces and Europe, he has taught Pre-K to College. Currently, Kevin is a principal of an elementary school.
Midway through class, graphic novel closes. James looks up at Ms. Gale thrilled, “I’ve finished all five acts!”
Now smiling, she laughs, “Well, that’s great! You do know I’m your Social Studies teacher though, right?”
It’s James’ turn to laugh, letting out a relieved sigh, “Yes. I just had to tell someone.” He’s now joined the ranks of those having experienced Verona’s most woeful tale.
With this being Academic Focus time, time to work alone or collaboratively through learning plans, some learners are finishing up Energy Audits. Others are considering and reconsidering a baffling Expanding Cube problem. The double classroom and Learning Commons are dynamic spaces right now; teachers are providing targeted support. Around James, across blended academic streams, students are determining Romeo and Juliet’s central themes, some utilizing the Shakespeare in Bits app, others skillfully rehearsing the heartbeat rhythm of iambic pentameter.
It’s all a reminder: we’re better together. Connection and community aren’t exclusive to our building; personalizing, connecting, and thriving are, though, central to the learning culture at Thirsk. Our communities, schools within the school, provide many opportunities for our learners. Rigorous interdisciplinary work isn’t (always) contained to one subject area. Students have supportive peers and adults they know meaningfully. Less isolated, with intentionality and flexibility, choices and new perspectives often surface.
Later, separately, James and Ms. Gale share with me the excitement of the day’s accomplishment. Yet again, I’m reminded of the privilege to teach and learn, celebrating successes and sharing challenges, as a member of this learning community.
@TravisRobertson, Comet & #ulethedtech MEd grad, teaches & learns at #yycbedu’s newest high school, passionate about high school (re)design.
At 8:30 AM on March 21st, CBE students from 18 Calgary high schools arrived at the Beijing Experimental High School to participate in the first day of the International Leadership Summit (IYLS) 2014. The students were tired from traveling and were still used to the rhythms and flow that made up their days 8500 km and 14 time zones away. The students could feel the warmth of the morning sun that penetrated the cool, hazy Beijing morning air as they gathered in the inner exercise courtyard of this large urban campus wondering what the day and week ahead would hold. Within minutes, Iris - one of the Assistant Principals at Beijing Experimental High School - was leading us through courtyards and stairwells until we reached our destination. Then it began - the 4th annual International Youth Leadership Summit in Beijing.
If we don't have our students creating, building, and playing with what they are learning, we are just going back to being one directional “teachers.” I do not want to be a “teacher,” I am and continue to want to be an educator. I want to design and enable others to design learning that kids can’t wait to share with the community or at the dinner table.
In other words, I learned that every day at every one of our schools needs to be a “TALENT SHOW” DAY…
Derek Rakowski (@derekrakowski) is the principal of Keeler School in the community of Forest Heights, and is absolutely loving using Twitter as a professional learning network. Best professional resource ever…
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