Week 1, you might ask,” why she writing week 1 like in the 1st week of school? She’s retired. You’re right! But that’s the point, my official week 1 of retirement, and all my colleagues are back at school. This week has been filled with wonderful days spent with friends at lunch, dinner and out for coffee. They knew it would be tough and they kept me very busy. Thank you for that. But plenty of time to chat on Twitter, read blogs and think about what I want to share. I write this post keeping civility and respect in mind. My best learning has been through hands on interactions with materials and adults. If I want my kinders (students in general) to understand my values, passions and interests, then doing by example, walking the walk, is my way to go.
- To decorate or not to decorate (the classroom): Many bloggers sharing great posts about their thinking on this topic. I have read the how’s, why’s and who for on both sides of this issue. As I said, this post is about respectful discourse. I cringe when I read what appears to be a voice of “authority” pushing their bias, leaving little room for another’s POVs. I think in whatever direction one chooses, go slowly, try not to overwhelm yourself or your students.
- Building Relationships / Academic Levels: More and more educators are embracing the power and importance of building relationships with students, parents and administration. If we are here for our students then we need to get to know them, their interests, strengths/passions and challenges. We need to create an open safe and nurturing environment (for our younger students especially). Most of the blogs I read write about building relationships. However some look to building “rigor” and “accountability” into the curriculum from the onset. The chats around these topics helped me look at this from the different perspectives of the age and grades we teach. In the chats we needed to step outside of our comfort zones and in some cases agreed to disagree. An important growth in and of itself, no?
- Herd and bandwagon mentality: Education bloggers questioned, reflected and brought to our consciousness how we look at the “newfangled” educational ideas with an understanding of what we ask of ourselves and our students. Or do we follow because everyone is and that’s the thing to do? Here too the conversation could get intense. I had to step back and really reflect on what felt comfortable to me as a teacher of young children. Then it hit me based on years of experience, reading and learning, and an open mind: To Thine Own Self Be True.
- To be connected or not: Here the challenge wasn’t whether to be or not, or the benefits (since all who shared are connected either on Twitter, FB, Instagram, Voxer, bloggers or now Periscope & other Social Media), but more so the attitude when looking at “those” who weren’t. I think of children who want to join a team, friends at play or working on a project (block building comes to mind) and are not sure if they will be accepted or know the right thing to do. Disparaging them certainly seems counter productive. Leaving that for you to think about.
I’m sure a busy 1st week for those teachers who just started and those who wil be staring soon. I wish you the joy and passion that you instill in your students. I know there is so much more going on from PD to saying goodbye to summer. If there is anything you want to share I would love to hear from you.
Thank you to my wonderful 1st grader, my grandson, Xander, for this delightful art work.