Upon accepting the challenge to contribute to this meme, I checked out a few other posts first. I was inspired by their authentic voice, their “putting it out there” stance. So I plan to do the same with this proviso: all of my points are applicable to me and my role right now too! When I say stop pretending, I’m looking in the mirror to some degree.
As we continue to work diligently at improving education for everyone at every level:
- Stop pretending you’re a literacy or English teacher/leader if you don’t read. We need to get in the game of being, modelling and inspiring lifelong readers. I know and face the challenges of not enough time to read, but I cannot overstate the power of teachers reading what kids are reading. It infuses belonging in our classrooms, it lends authenticity to our instruction and it shows you care about what kids are reading. If you haven’t read something new this year, start with one novel. Junior and YA novels do not demand a lot of time. Start with one you know is getting buzz in your class…and if there’s no buzz, create some!
- Stop pretending you’re a literacy or English teacher/leader if you don’t write. Let’s choose to be ‘assigners’ no longer. Let’s all write with them. You learn pretty quickly how demanding or uninspiring the task is when you do it yourself in front of them. If we’re not instilling the will to write with the skill to write, then writing is just an assignment and not an avenue for saying what I have to say.
- Stop pretending it’s ok that you don’t enjoy your class or your job. If you’re not enjoying their company, they’re not enjoying yours either. And neither are their peers. (I was reminded of the kind of community we want when reading one of Michelle Cordy’s points this morning, see: http://hacktheclassroom.ca/) There’s something to be said for elevating our responses to others to create a community of respect.
- Stop pretending you know when you don’t know or being someone you aren’t. This one requires that all levels, admin and supervisors and colleagues, create space for everyone to be authentic. Recently some teachers shared with me that kids are afraid to speak in case it’s wrong. Of course, adolescents have always recoiled at being wrong or seen as different. But, what behaviour am I modelling, what language am I using to embrace an “I’m not sure” stance? Am I all-knowing in my class? In my staff?
- Stop pretending you can avoid improving and tweaking your practice. Share with your students and your colleagues what you’re working on to improve your practice. When we attend professional learning sessions, let’s share what we learned and why we are learning. Imagine students knowing that we are working at getting better at teaching them. Imagine sharing with colleagues that you’re working on an area of your practice to make it better. Innovation and curiosity are contagious. Frankly, ‘new’ is exciting, and it might just be the boost we all need to lift us to the end of this school year!
Kudos to my supervisor Sue Bruyns for pushing me in my practice and creating space to try new things.
Take a risk, make a move.