I mentioned this briefly at the end of my last two posts, but I am at a workshop this week. What I did not mention is that I am at one of the most amazing workshops EVER! Well, at least the most amazing one I have ever been to. :). I am learning so much and getting to meet some awesome teachers from around the US and this corner of the globe.
The workshop is put on and led by Eric Jensen, who is the author of the book, Teaching with Poverty in Mind, which inspired the events in my teaching that inspired this blog (see my About page for that story). The workshop is called Teaching with Poverty in Mind, and it gets into the research behind the book in depth, but it has been mostly about how to use the research and giving very real strategies and practices that allow students, brains to change for the better. Basically, it is about how poverty changes the brain and what we can do about that as teachers.
The workshop has been wonderful, as I said. Everything being taught is being modeled ad we are helping each other practice. We are being given ways to take this all back to our campuses and to help other teachers apply the principles, strategies and research and spread the fire of change at out schools. We have been shown examples of what we are being taught working at schools like ours and being challenged to prove it can work at our schools. Have to say, I am quite fired up and there are still two days left! I can’t wait to take what I am learning back to my school!
I share all of this to talk about a theme and idea that has come up over and over. I am really buying into this idea, and I hope that it will inspire you and that you buy into it to. Something has been said over and over, and I bet it will be said more over the next two days: teachers are the key to change in students. Teachers…not the students, parents, administrators, legislators, etc…TEACHERS. If we make the needed changes in how we approach what we teach (not necessarily how we teach…a lot of us our doing the “right things” but our approach, reasons, and intentions need to be adjusted and tweaked) then we will start to see changes and successes in our students, especially the harder cases.
I won’t get into details here…I will leave that to Mr. Jensen (read the book and catch the workshop if you can)…but I want to focus in on the idea of change. No matter how good we are, we can find things that we can change and do better. It does nothing to lean back and just bemoan what is going wrong. One thing that has been repeated at the workshop is that “we need to stop pointing fingers and start holding up a mirror to see what we need to change.” I know that teachers are blamed a lot….I am not saying buying into that, but I am agreeing that we all need to stop pointing fingers and start changing what we can…and that starts with us.
Mahatma Gandhi is often misquoted as having said, “Be the change you long to see in the world.” Great idea, but what he actually said is even stronger.
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”
What he is basically saying is that change starts with us. We, as teachers, can’t wait for our students, the environments, or the education system to change. We need to hold up a mirror to ourselves and change what we can change for the better. We can then be an agent of change by spreading the changes to others. That is kind of what this blog is about…changing the climate of negativity towards teachers to an atmosphere of encouragement. We need to make the same adjustments in our classrooms!
So how are you doing, Teacher? Are you ready to hold up a mirror and let the changes start with you? Find a deficit or weakness in your teaching, find out ways to change it, makes some plans, and then make changes. Are you ready to start this? A know that I am!
You are so awesome! I know that you are going to take this challenge in stride! I believe in you and I know that this coming year (or current one) will be the best one yet! Keep on teach, Teacher!