As the end of the school year approaches, educators find themselves wrestling with conflicting emotions. We want to keep our current students whom we’ve come to know and grown to love, and yet we eagerly anticipate the arrival of another group who will no doubt grow us in new ways. Once staffing considerations have been shared, conversations swirl around what’s happening next year as the buzz of change animates our interactions. Weeks before the last day of school, we find ourselves straddling summer with one foot in this year and one foot in the next. So it is with me and my role as I transition from learning coordinator back to an elementary school, this time as an acting vice-principal. My pulse quickens.
I have the absolute delight of welcoming Karen McKay into the literacy portfolio. Karen has been a coach in the past, but comes directly from the classroom into her new role. As she makes the move to our team, I’ve been pondering the most essential supports I can share with her to inspire and equip her for the path ahead.
How do I pass the torch?
After four years as a literacy learning coordinator, I’ve accumulated a vast array of books, docs and files, paper clips, post it notes and powerpoints. I’ve put my foot in my mouth, and gone out on a limb. I’ve eaten books for breakfast and risked speaking and writing my story in public. Most importantly, I’m a better person and practitioner because of the relationships, opportunities and learning from others that have shaped all my memories and my steps forward. I am so grateful that I’ve had the chance to work hard at work worth doing, work I love.
I began to wonder though, once one walks out the door, what happens to some of that learning? I cling to the hope that many of the educators I’ve worked with are ‘living the learning’ already. Our board is so big, I know that I haven’t even met all its teachers, let alone impacted their practice.
Over the course of the coming month, I’m challenging myself to share a curated collection of ideas, lists and content that might serve two overarching purposes: reflection for me, potential for you. I’ll be looking back over projects and collaborations to dig for golden nuggets that have resonance for the classroom. We only have so much time to devote to skimming and scanning the tsunami of ideas on our twitter feeds. As a result, I’m committing to short and sweet. I risk becoming a museum if I don’t encourage and invite you to please view, add suggestions, edit, share. I’ll link padlets, websites, pdfs, google docs and folders on my blog. I’ll ask for your input around what you’ve done that has made a difference to your students.
By the end of the school year, I hope to have shared a snapshot of some of my work that might impact your practice. It can’t replace the hard work of learning that happens when we get together to explore, read, create and collaborate, but perhaps it will give you, and our new learning coordinator, a panoramic view of the work that has engaged me.