I have been very lucky. I have had so many people help me in my career, so many mentors who have helped me shape my philosophy, sharpen my pedagogy and given me the confidence in myself to tackle projects and take on different positions. It was a conversation with one my mentors last week that helped me past a bit of writer’s block. I have had some trouble with deciding about what to share and how to share it. As we talked about a big project we are starting to work on, he asked me why I thought it would be successful in my school at this time. At the end of our conversation, he advised me to share on my blog what I shared with him. Sounded like a good idea…
We are looking at doing some work along the lines of innovation, something similar to Josh Stumpenhorst’s Passion Projects and Matt Bebbington‘s Innovation Day. To take something like this on, and expect it to be successful, you would of course need to be confident in the timing, the people involved and leadership supporting it. We are ready for this project for three reasons:
I could spend multiple blog posts bragging about my colleagues. We have a staff that is driven by its desire to help students learn, not for a test or a statistic but for the joy and importance of learning. They model this in their openness to try something new if they believe it will help their students. Our staff prides itself on pushing their pedagogy and collaboratively working to improve their teaching together. What goes on in our building is student-driven, messy and impactful learning. For this reason we know we will have their support, their belief and their passion when we roll out each phase of our project.
Our principal is an inspiring, committed and driven leader who has no desire to continue worn out practices or resting on her laurels. Her school has won awards and drawn a great deal of positive attention in the past few years, yet she continues to preach progressive thinking, innovative teaching practices and constant improvement and growth. While technology isn’t always her best friend, she is always trying to learn and grow and understands that technology will never replace good teaching, but will work to assist it. For this reason, we know we can move forward with her support, and whether it is a successful endeavour or not, she will insist it was worth the experience.
The students in our building are creative, engaged and enthusiastic about learning. Of course a lot of their exuberance is a product of our amazing staff, but they deserve a great deal of credit as well. We are constantly amazed by what they are capable of and the directions that they can take an experience when given the flexibility and freedom to lead their learning. We want to provide them with more opportunities to direct their learning, as they have shown that this type of challenge is a beneficial one. I believe our students are ready to really flex their creative muscle and that it is the right group of kids at the right time.
So when I was done my long winded rant about how ready our school is for a project like this, I realized that we really have no excuse. With a staff as dedicated and driven as ours, with a leader always pushing for growth, and with a group of students so excited about learning, we have no excuse but to do everything we can to help make their educational experience the best we can. If self direction, risk taking, and critical thinking are our goals for our students, we have no excuse but to try to take our teaching to new places, whether we succeed or not. We owe it to everyone already doing all they can, to do everything we can ourselves. We have no excuse, so now its time to get to work.