Many of us have spent a great deal of time plotting and planning this summer. Plotting to find ways to provide our students with a ‘this century’ education. Plotting to find ways to better create student-centered classrooms, to write powerful and engaging lessons, to empower students with voice and choice, and to find a balance between relevant learning and real-life lessons.
The planning side calls for us to make decisions about timing and pacing, and to look at what we have time to teach and what we don’t. To ask ourselves if we can meet all of the required elements and simultaneously provide lessons that stretch our students’ imagination, creativity and curiosity. I sure hope so. In fact, I’m counting on it.
The planner and organizer in all of us also calls for us to find the best approach to actively engage our students in the learning process while we make the journey along beside them. Then it is up to us to follow through and put our plans into action. If we plan but do nothing to move those plans forward, then we’re back to square one and, ‘the best laid plans’ are of no value.
Either way, plotting and planning is challenging work. Every day that we have with students is a day of opportunity. Every minute with them counts and we should invest our time seriously because the difference we make in their educational experience and in their lives is what is at stake. Time is precious and everything we are called to do comes to us in one day installments—make the most of it.
As we prepare for the start of a new school year we must ask ourselves these questions:
- Are we excited about this new journey? Are we ready for the exploration and deep thinking that can impact ALL students if we let it?
- Are we open to our classrooms being more about students and less about us, the teacher?
- Is the learning process about what we can give our students or about what we can give each other?
- Are we prepared for the difference that we, as teachers, can make in the life of a student? And, can we handle it?
- Are we willing to make changes that positively impact students—even if the changes are outside of our comfort zone and cause us to spend more time crafting the experiences?
I hope the responses to the questions were an overwhelming and resounding yes.
You see my wish is for each of us to help students see their value and worth while they are in our care; to help each of them move forward as they pursue their hopes and dreams; and to do all we can do to prepare them for a future beyond what we can imagine.