The Most Important Thing

How often does life reward us for being the smartest one in the room? TV trivia show prizes aside, how many things in life come to us because we know more than anyone else?

Will it assure us entrance into a good college?

Will it find us a life partner?

Will it advance our career?

No, no, and no.

The fact is, intelligence alone is almost never the measuring stick for success. Don’t get me wrong – it’s good to be smart. We need quick learners and strong thinkers in this world. But the ones who go farthest in life are those who can work with others and communicate their ideas clearly. That can be hard news for a kid who’s labeled gifted or talented, or “GT.” After all, if I define myself by my intellectual ability, where does that put me once it’s no longer such an big deal?

While it’s an adjustment, this shift in attitude is also a relief. Without the pressure to be the smartest one in a group, children can take risks and make mistakes. It also eases the feelings of competition that often surface when “GT” kids are placed together. Students can focus on creating partnerships in a learning community. As a teacher, I take the job of teaching concepts very seriously.

But life is about so much more.

This is How it Should Work…

…with differentiated instruction across the board, all under one umbrella. Needs are needs, people. Whether a child requires services because he has dyslexia, anxiety disorder, intellectual gifts – you name it. It’s time for us all to look at the services we provide as schools and bring them all together.

http://www.wilmette39.org/DI39/

This I Believe

At the very heart of things, I am a classroom teacher. My vision for schools is firmly rooted in my core beliefs about  education.

I believe in public schooling as a cornerstone of American society.

I believe that teaching is the greatest job in the world, and that children are the best co-workers in the world.

I believe that 90% of teaching is providing for the social and emotional safety of children. The rest will fall into place if those needs are met.

I believe that great teachers and principals do not construct a school community; rather, they facilitate its creation with staff, students and families by uniting them towards a common vision and purpose.

I believe a strong school community is a parallel of a strong classroom community. Many of the principles that build effective classrooms also build strong schools.

I believe that people have immeasurable potential. The motivation and power to achieve lies within; it’s merely my job to help discover it and let it fly.

I believe that a learning community extends beyond the classroom, that students, staff, and parents alike deserve the joy and unique rewards that challenge can provide.

I believe that a healthy school classroom and school culture are the product of respect, mutual trust, collaboration and shared power.

I believe that outstanding teachers and administrators balance decisiveness and action with patience and perspective.

I believe I have more to learn from others than they have to learn from me.