As innovators and educators we often have so much information coming to us (data from student observations, new learning from PLC, social media, and lots of other content we read on our own), we can feel overwhelmed by it all. What’s worse, not all of it is useful.
But now that you know how to be your own boss (trusting your own decision process) AND you know what your students need year after year, it’s time to DO and CHOOSE what’s right for you as their teacher.
Last year I was challenged by a requirement to teach a new curriculum (and a new grade level in math) for the first time in 8 years. I tried, at first, to completely use the curriculum given to me because it seemed the logical choice.
Over time, however, I found that despite the grade-level plans (and the “expert” lesson plans in the math textbooks) my hugely-diverse students weren’t growing. I knew had to make a change. Those students were relying on me to be their teacher—and trusted guide. After I chose my own PD for math, I knew I had done the right thing.
And over time, I taught so many students to love math—which I’m so happy about, especially when they never knew how to do math, much less love it! I had many parents thank me for doing the right thing for their child. How cool is that?
Because you care deeply about your students, I know you feel that same struggle. How do you choose what’s right for your students and for you? Try this simple, two-step process to weed out all the unnecessary information that is blocking you on your path to success.
Step 1. Trust Yourself. You know what’s best for your students right now. Even if your school year is over, I bet there are one or two areas that really stay with you still.
For example, several years ago, I realized my struggling readers continued to struggle, year after year. I didn’t KNOW how to increase their fluency while I had them in my classroom. Not only that, they simply weren’t motivated to read. Sometimes, they just pretended to read, even during a free-read rotation in centers.
The next year, instead of taking the actions that produced (or allowed) those results, I decided to take a different action. I knew I needed to learn how to increase fluency AND the motivation to read for those approaching-grade-level kiddos.
Think about what patterns you’ve noticed in your classroom. Write it down.
Step 2. Be open to support. I believe we are all always fully supported. When I get a little overwhelmed with all my students’ needs, or feel like I don’t have everything I need, I just remind myself of that belief. And it’s like magic. Every time. The universe responds, giving me the right resource, knowledge, or guidance. It completely works. It’s not easy to trust but it is simple.
But because I was open, the right training presented itself to me in the form of a district training on literacy. I learned so much about the research behind reading that I am able to grow my students in reading year after year no matter the curriculum or standard or grade level.
Be open to the RIGHT resource and guidance. You’ll know it when you see it. Then you’ll know you’re always fully supported.
It’s just like how you support your students fully, year after year. Teachers—the care-givers of sacred beings—are always completely supported because our work comes from a place of service and love.