As a new teacher right out of University I felt like I knew everything. I was fresh out of school armed with all the new strategies that were guaranteed to create well rounded students that would thrive in a literacy rich environment and be numeracy geniuses. I mean some of the text books I read back in 2010 even had plans for how to set up my classroom in the most effective way possible. Spoiler alert it was not rows.
I have found over the years that all the text books in the world can’t make a classroom successful. It is the people involved in the learning community that make it a success, the students, the teachers, the administrators, and the parents. We all play a role.
Your learning community needs to made up of people that elevate you and push you to be the best. They do not have to teach the same thing as you or even do the same thing as you. My wife who is my number one sounding board for teaching does not teach at my school or my grade but she does push me to be the best I can be. My first go to at work does not teach the same grade as me but we work fantasticly together and she improves my learning community. My grade teammates both are very different teachers than me but I have learned that what makes us different makes our team better. Their skills improve my learning community. My students every year push me to be the best teacher I can be. Not because a text book tells me to or a new program is out or a new test has been developed or a …the list could go on and on. I want to have the best learning community I can and that can only happen if my students see that goal as important as well. I have been incredibly lucky in my career to have fantastic parents as a part of my learning community. I know this is not always the case, personalities may clash but if parents, teachers, students ,colleagues and everyone else you interact with contribute to your learning community, help build it up you will always be more successful.
We talk about a chain only being as strong as its weakest link. Sometimes I think we allow others to tell use who the weakest link in without checking its strength ourself. I am guilty of that. Going back to the fresh out of University me (sometimes still the today me) and I looked down my nose at the “old school” teachers. I would think why can’t they get on board “the new school” way of thinking. Having worked with one of the best teachers I know who would definitely include himself in the “old school” category I know my thinking was flawed. While new research and countless text books definitely can improve your learning communities it is the people that really make it what it is.
We should all be supporting each other to be the best us we can be. I do not want other teachers, students, parents to do things just because I said we should or a book says we should. I want them to do whatever it is they can to make my learning community better. I am going to strive to do the same. One goal in mind. Improving every day.