- Bringing Project Based Learning to our Classroom - August 12, 2018
- Keep the Engagement Alive: Start the Year with Purpose - August 5, 2018
- It's Our Fault: A Teacher's Confession - March 18, 2018
- Keeping Your Teaching Real: A Teacher's Role - March 11, 2018
- Sketch Notes in the Elementary Classroom - February 15, 2017
- Teach From the Heart - February 9, 2017
- Who is the Teacher: School or Family? - January 11, 2017
- Dear President Elect Trump, From Your Teachers - November 17, 2016
- Let them Be Children - October 21, 2016
- Print Resources: Great Tools for Kids - October 17, 2016
This last Memorial Day Sunday, our preacher spoke of the past. Do you know the name of your great-great-great grandmother? How about your great-great-grandfather? Do you know the name of your great-grandmother? Who was your grandma? While our family lineage is long, it does not take many generations to forget the names. I do not know the names of my past relatives. I do, however, remember the stories, the emotions, and the traditions that have been passed down through my family.
We create a family in our classrooms every year. We don’t get to pick who they are, but we learn each child's likes and dislikes as we create a community of learning. We set up an environment where learning takes place all year. The atmosphere, ideas, and life-skills are parallel with the learning. In an age of blame and displacement of responsibility, what are you leaving as a memorial?
During the end of the year I get caught up in the stress and paperwork that comes with teaching. I check off my checklists and find lost books. I finalize grades. But is this the memory I want? The end of the year is an important time to reflect and this sermon brought my attention to my memorial. What will students say about my classroom? What will parents say about their students learning? What will they remember when my name is gone?
Having taught for 18 years, I know you can make some of the people happy some of the time, but you cannot make all of the people happy all of the time. So how do you live your memorial? My philosophy in teaching, and in life, is to leave things better than you found them. Each person is placed here for a purpose and a reason. As an educator, it is my role to foster the strengths within each student and help them reach their potential. This task, while difficult, is best done with respect.
I focus my classroom decisions around this philosophy. I go home each day knowing I did what was right with my heart. I am not perfect. I am human. I fight for my students who need a voice. I push the students who need a shove. I teach my students as individuals and provide what they need. My memorial will be a story of laughing and questioning and thinking and learning. Along this path of education, if I am ever pulled away from that philosophy, I know then that it will be time to move on.
What is your living memorial? What do students and families remember about their year in your classroom? How is your philosophy demonstrated and communicated in your classroom. Find time to reflect and refresh yourself this summer. And continue this work, this very important work, living so your story is remembered and passed along after your name is gone.