I don’t think I have ever started a blog post without a clear title in mind. I feel like it has always framed my thinking but today as I begin this post clarity escapes me.
This week on the #G2Great chat we talked about the “blurry why” and how it can lead to instructional blind spots. This conversation combined with my reading of Sarah Zerwin’s Point-Less and many different conversations on Twitter and with colleagues in person this week has really caused me to ponder quite a bit on what I value, how I can focus on the “why” even in this time where distractions are causing me to, at times, lose focus.
When I look at my “whys”, the things I value in education and want for my students, last week I narrowed it down to these
- Developing a Life Long love of Reading
- Find our writing voice and using it
- Think Critically with a focus on equity and justice.
- Embrace Curiosity
- Be Kind
- Have a desire to keep trying
- Work Hard
- Never Stop Learning
Like the allergies that have been clouding my vision and blurring my focus the COVID closures has acted as an irritant that has, I think for many, led to this blurry why. We are not sure how we can achieve our often lofty goals. What we would normally want to see seems almost unattainable in its original form, and it might be. The learning opportunities that I have provided for my students address all of my mentioned values and all work back to the why that I want my students to be readers and writers and citizens of the world in the pursuit of equity and justice. In class I could arrange these opportunities to discuss. We could read text together and discuss. In the land of COVID teaching, not all students are able to join at the same time. Access can be an issue as things like internet might be spotty and home printer ownership is not what it once was or at least mistakenly thought it was. Book access to get those inclusive books I value so much in student hands is a hurdle. Motivation to put the time in that thoughtful writing often requires is in low supply. All of these issues have me asking if it is really worth it to keep my eye focused on the “why” even in this time. But in the end I do because I think the message if I allow these things to distract me and blur my vision is that they were only important when it was convenient.
So I do what I can in this time, I book talk inclusive texts on the instagram, I ask my students to write about what matters to them and explore why. I display the life of a learner and have started to rebuild my vision for a teaching world that will look different when September arrives. I read more so that when the time comes for new learning with my students I can reach them in whatever way that looks.
Staying focused on what is important is hard when there is so much noise trying to take us off the path but the alternative for me is saying that what I valued before the COVID is not valuable enough to fight for now that it is in jeopardy and that is not an option.
Taking some eye drops and focusing clearly on what is important.