21st century “exceptional” teaching…

I came across something today… (http://www.literacyinlearningexchange.org/support-innovation)

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…which I LOVE! “We must support and encourage educators to be DESIGNERS and INNOVATORS rather than relying on prepackaged programs and solutions.” I’ve never been one to follow a “script” when I teach; and honestly doing so goes against every ‘best practice’ principle I hold dear. Kids are not predictable and they have a range of needs that a script cannot possibly guide a teacher to meet. It is like what we say for using technology…it is a TOOL and the content should be the focus. So too are these “programs” that are pushed upon teachers… they are TOOLS. If we want critical thinking students then we should have critical thinking teachers. If we want students to be creative, then we need teachers to be creative. If we want students who can collaborate, then teachers need time to let them collaborate (I haven’t seen a packaged program yet that doesn’t give a script that can possibly be met in the minutes they suggest anyway!) If we want students to communicate, then teachers need to communicate (how can we call reading a ‘script’ communicating?!)

Of course designing and innovating don’t just happen. But it is time to embrace the notion that we have to foster that in our teachers that which we desire in our students…

This leads me to my next “ah-ha”: Essential Habits of an Exceptional Educator via Edutopia. This gave me a great deal to reflect upon. I’m heading into my 17 year teaching. There are many things that I feel confident in, but I always feel that I am never doing enough and have plenty of areas to improve. By no means do I consider myself exceptional. However this part resonates with me: “Simply put, the habits of an excellent educator are that they have positive habits, and students are usually the central focus. When I become intentional about my own habits, I level up my performance.” I try to keep positive habits, always put students first and am intentional in everything I do. Feeling validated that I’m on the right track, I want to keep coming back to this list to make sure I’m selecting goals that propel me forward. I could easily take on every item on the list! But for now I think I’ll begin with “workflows”. Just how do my procedures and routines work? How can I make them most effective? And above all, how I can teach them with intent so they are mastered in a way that students run the classroom and are in charge of their learning?

Always learning more…



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