TRAJECTORY is , “a chosen or taken course”, and I think about the people in my life that have often inspired me to change my trajectory for the positive. There are times, that my trajectory has changed for a positive in spite of people, and sometimes it has changed for a negative. I am sure that I have impacted people in a negative way in the past, and I am trying to focus on helping others reach something that they didn’t think that they could possibly attain before. Like most teachers/leaders, I want to make a difference. Every action, interaction, and reaction you have with someone is an opportunity to change their path; I want them to move up because of me, not in spite of our interaction. There will always be many choices in front of us. Which path is for me at this point, I am not sure.
I recently listen to a speaker talk on Pursuing the Prize. He gave 6 key steps to Pursuing the Prize listed below.
1. Pursue a better condition – one can not seek or find the purpose/vision if the condition/environment is not postive and conducive to learning/growing. One needs to surround themselves with people they trust. When you find that “better condition,” you create a community of connected educators.
2. Pursue with maxium effort – Seek and risk-take…put your all into the goal/vision. It takes as much effort to “half do” something as it does to give 100%. Half full or half empty?
3. Focused Concentration – “Fix Your Eyes” on the goal… the goal is the key. What are the step needed to reach the goal. How will you get there? Who will help you? Do you need buy in? Can you state the purpose and reason for the goal?
4. Know what your motivation is (why are you doing this, what is the purpose?) – Motivation must come from within…this is healthy. Knowing the purpose and cause will make the goal easier to keep the focus.
5. You can’t do it alone – Surround yourself with positive people. You need a community of like-believers and support.
6. Stay the course – Don’t give up!
What are you PURSUING?
Leave a legacy…
As educators, I believe acknowledging what others think is a vital part of the self-reflective journey to always improve and get better. I think it’s also important to note that what others think should not be the driving force behind what we say and do; it’s merely a piece of the whole puzzle.
Wouldn’t it be nice to leave a positive legacy that will not only be remembered, but will serve as an inspiration and motivation for others for years to come?
What will your legacy be? For what will you be remembered?
Will your legacy be a legacy of treating others respectfully, fairly and individually?
Will your legacy be a legacy of trust and tolerance to the needs of others?
Will your legacy be a legacy of shared, collective and collaborative approaches toward improvement?
Will your legacy be a legacy of sincerity, selflessness and reliability?
Will your legacy be a legacy of humility and acceptance of failure as a means toward growth?
Will your legacy be a legacy of flexibility, enthusiasm and energy?
Will your legacy be a legacy of courage, strength and vision toward shared aspirations?
Will your legacy be a legacy of helping and serving others so they can achieve their goals?
Regardless of your profession or position in education, you have the luxury of developing and refining your legacy on a daily basis. Your legacy is in your hands and whether you realize it or not, people all around you are taking notice of what you are doing, or not doing…
What kind of legacy are you leaving…?
This was found via Twitter…can’t remember the resource.
Teaching on the Edge of Your Seat…
Things we must remember:
Student thinking lies at the heart of our teaching. We must plan with students in mind (not just content). Our plans must be explicit to WHOM we are teaching. We must think about whether or not our students need more background knowledge, small or whole group lessons, and how much time needed to build/connect/understand concepts. Their thinking is the essential resource. It powers all the work in our classroom. Differentiation is/becomes NATURAL if you are aware and know your students’ needs. It is not about what is NEXT – it is about what is in front of you. How often do we really sit down and ask ourselves/consider how and why students struggle? It is important to value these moments when students don’t know the answers. Deeper not wider – What good is teaching every detail of unit of study if students don’t understand it.
Keep the body of the lesson focused on open-ended topics. Probe students’ thinking and listen to them. Students should be doing most of the talking in the classroom. Talking allows a teacher to discover what his/her students know and where they are struggling. It gives students a chance to express different ideas and interpretations. It serves as a window into students’ thinking processes. It gives students a chance to connect with one another and it supports the growth of more ideas.
Create a space for students to reflect after the lesson on their academic work and social interactions. Classrooms should be full of VISIBLE THINKING from students.
Build a sense of community – Teaching students the skills they need to interact with one another allows us to facilitate lessons in much more meaningful ways.
Purpose/Powerful Lessons – Lessons should be engaged in meaningful thinking and interaction. Purpose involves rigorous thinking, creativity, and risk-taking. Use the “TEACHABLE MOMENTS.” Powerful teaching is the result of intentional planning and deep reflection.
“We don’t learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience.” John Dewey
Monitor student thinking – data is intentional (journals, writing, conversations, brainstorming, tweets, edmodo, reading, sharing mental images, and formative/summative assessments). Allow for reflection, both academic and social debriefing.
Asking questions (after you listen) – What are you thinking about? What are you wondering about? Foster investigation, inquiry, wonder, and imagination.
Risk-Taking is essential for growth. It thrives in a safe and supportive classroom community where students feel known and accepted. Classrooms should be designed so that collaboration, imagination, and community are at the center of classroom life. Students need to feel free to try something on their own.
You have to be self-seeking…Always searching for better ways…Always wanting better for your students…searching for growth…taking advantage of PD/learning opportunities…IT IS CONSTANT/LIFE-LONG LEARNING! The learning that a teacher gains will both directly and indirectly affect student learning.
How do you know you’re ready to become a teacher leader? Will a trusted colleague tap you on the shoulder and say, “It’s time!”? Do you have to get so frustrated by something that you simply must speak up and work toward a solution? Maybe—but sometimes the signs are subtler. Here are a few things that may signal that you’re on the road to becoming a teacher leader:
Sign #1: You wish you had an impact beyond your classroom.
If you find yourself yearning to take an idea beyond your classroom, you’re probably ready to become a leader.
The first step might be as small as sharing a lesson plan with a colleague down the hall. Then you might spread your expertise further. Perhaps you will blog about how your students are using iPads to work on letter recognition, submit an article to your favorite professional journal, or share your knowledge in topic-focused Twitter chats. Or maybe your next step will be to help “unpack Common Core standards” for your department, or to offer to lead a workshop on bullying.
Whatever path you take, don’t wait to be invited. Act on your interests—you’ll be glad you did.
Sign #2: Colleagues often ask you for advice.
Are you a go-to teacher? You aren’t sure quite why, but your colleagues are beginning to turn to you (yes, YOU!) for advice on how to handle difficult situations. Guess what? You probably have what it takes to lead.
See Sign #1 for some ways to proceed. It’s great that your colleagues come to you for advice, but are there ways to share your expertise with even more educators?
Sign #3: You “think big” about problems.
When others are complaining, you’re imagining solutions. You can see ways that the system can change to help you and your colleagues to better serve students—whether at the school, district, state, or national level.
Maybe your next step is to have frank, open conversations with your principal about solving problems at your school. Maybe you will serve on a district leadership committee, acting as a spokesperson for your grade level at a school board meeting. Or perhaps you’ll become involved with teacher advocacy through your union.
Whatever the case, other teachers are beginning to look to you as someone who can help them move beyond frustration to positive action. You have the potential to extend the impact of your leadership by getting involved in district, state, and even national initiatives to improve teaching and learning.
Sign #4: You want to take new teachers under your wing.
You watch new teachers at your school and think, “Wow, I’ve been there and wished someone would help me out.” You have a keen sense of what kind of preparation teachers need to be successful in the classroom. You’ve probably offered advice and informal support to at least one new teacher.
Your next step might be to volunteer as a cooperating teacher for a preservice college student, or an official mentor to a new teacher in your building. Maybe you will agree to serve on a “walk-through” team, observing teachers and offering helpful feedback. You might even become an instructional coach or take on a hybrid role in which you are adjunct faculty at a local teacher- preparation program.
Whatever the case, you care about the future of the profession. When you begin to invest time and energy in new teachers or preservice teachers, it’s a sure sign that you’re becoming a leader.
Sign #5: You always want to know more!
You are afflicted with lifelong learning. What you know about the profession isn’t enough—you are eager to dig deeper into pedagogical strategies and/or your content area. You read. A lot.
Perhaps you’ve already taken one next step: enrolling in a master’s program. Or maybe you’ve already developed a Personal Learning Network of teachers across the country who regularly exchange ideas and help each other improve. And you might also be pursuing the rewarding but challenging experience of seeking National Board Certification. So many avenues for learning!
When you find yourself writing, advising, listening, collaborating, networking, seeking knowledge, reflecting, be aware. These are traits of leadership. Know, too, that there is no one “correct” path to becoming a teacher leader. I encourage you to check out the Teacher Leader Model Standards, which highlight a range of ways for teacher leaders to improve schools.
The right next step for you will depend on your own strengths, ambitions, and circumstances. But I can promise you this: When you go beyond what is expected, when you act on your desire to develop and learn, you won’t regret it.
By Marsha Ratzel
Published Online: February 21, 2012