Sunday, September 23, 2007

What kind of school do I want?

While reading the book "Professional Learning Communities at Work" by Richard DuFour and Robert Eaker, I found a couple of questions. (Okay, so there are lots of questions, some answers, and lots more to think about.) As part of the learning cohort at AHS we decided to examine a few of these questions before our next meeting.

(Way to go Brian. The next meeting is this week and I am just getting around to the homework now. Better now as compared with after the next meeting or never, right?)

So here goes.

  1. "When I leave this school, I would like to be remembered for..."
  2. "I want my school to be a place where..."
  3. "The kind if school I would like my own child to attend would..."
  4. "The kind of school I would like to teach in would..."

In regards to the first question, I would like to be remembered as the teacher that liked learning for the sake of learning. It does not matter if the material is in my specific content area or about learning in general, I would like the students to know that their teacher wanted to learn from them as much (if not more) than I have to offer them. I am interested in the world around me and the people in it. I would like the students and my colleagues to think of me as someone who wanted to be around people and see them grow.

The second question is a little more difficult. I would like to see my school be a place where other professionals want to come to see what we are doing. I would like the entire school to contribute to the greater good of education and the continual improvement of ourselves as educators. I do not want the school to stay the way it is. (That might not sound right.) I want us to develop new methods for doing things and get the students involved in their learning future.

Since I have two little ones at home, question number three is something that I have been looking at recently. I would like the school to encourage my children to take risks and learn from failure. I do not think that everything that is done in school should be a success. I think that the school should call me, as a parent, when my child is behaving in an offensive manner. I think the school should be teaching skills that we be helpful to my child later in life. I would like the teachers in the school to think "outside the box" and be interested in the student's lives. If I could really pick, I would pick something like the Denver School of Science and Technology (Only if my children are interested in these things. If not, I would find something similar in their area of interest.) I would like the school to have a global perspective and not just a limited view. Wow, there is a lot more. Should I keep going? Perhaps, I will come back to this in a later post.

Finally, the kind of school that I would like to teach in would include the students and community in all of the decisions. There would be support from outside the four walls of the building since they would be transparent (not actually transparent, you know). Students would be in a seminar class and do practical experiences later in their schooling. I think that we are doing a pretty good job right now but I also think that pretty good is not good enough. I would hope that all the teachers in the building are there because they believe that the school is better with them and there is something that they have to offer the students. I would want the materials in the building to be state-of-the-art and there should be ample training for the equipment use. I would encourage more of the meetings like we do currently. Give teachers time to work together. I would want the school to offer teachers time. Time to pursue degrees if they wanted, time to improve what they do by seeing and talking to other teachers, time to plan with other teachers, time to learn with the students and I would like to have time to reflect. I would want the students to be involved in the community and the school. Wow, there are lots of things in this list also.

This seems like it was more fun than it should have been. I guess that AHS is the place I want to be a part of, make an impact and change for the better. I guess it is a good thing that I am a part of it now.


Barbara S. said...

You have asked four (DuFour?) really relevant questions and I enjoyed reading your responses. As a teacher in her second-to-last year at AHS, your first question hit home with me. It scares and excites me to ask that question. In addition to wanting to be remembered as a teacher who loves to learn, I want my students and colleagues to know that I care. I care very much about what my students are doing; who they are becoming. I care also about my colleagues who I see as dedicated, professional, and fun. Thanks for sharing your thoughts...

lgaffney said...

I enjoyed both your profile and your post. You ask, "How will my students remember me?" and answer that you would like them to know your passion for learning. This is communicated in a simple statement you make in your profile--"I teach students". In this simple statement, you model that teaching is not always about literature or history or science, but rather that teaching is about exploring life and cultivating a passion for that exploration. Great thoughts, Brian!

Greg Trotter said...

As a father, I connect with the words regarding your children and learning. Arapahoe is a wonderful place to take academic risks becasue it can allow for growth and maturation through compassion. Your thoughts on this subject reminded me of a portion of my former principal's philosophy, "Failure leads to success." I believe this generality much of the time. You are memorable and will be remembered for your tireless efforts to serve students academically and relationally. Keep thinking and serving.

A. Bradley said...

What great things to ponder. I think the first statement should be reflected upon every year. Not only as a teacher or educator but as a human being. Perhaps, "when I leave this world, I would like to be remembered for..." I know that is probably too deep for a Tuesday afternoon but why not reflect on our lives?
It is scary to think about the girls going to school. What is going to be good enough? Each student is different - one school, teacher, classroom might be great for one but not enough or too much for another. Positive experiences, taking risks, global experiences, etc... Researching and choosing schools can be based soley on CSAP scores - how absolutely frightening!!!! What is the best method in researching preschools, elementary and so on???
Thanks for your thoughts,BH!

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