Wednesdays are staff meeting days. After our students scamper home, we gather together in the staff room and get to work. The very first staff meeting I attending at our school was while I was still just a long-term sub. I had attended many staff meetings up until that day and worked with some pretty phenomenal staff, but this meeting blew me away.
Not one person was on their phone, or grading papers, or sleeping. Every person was thoughtfully contributing to the conversation and when presented a task by administration, they got right to work. I remember thinking, “Ah, snap! This is game on, and I better lean in and get serious.” It was impressive. Keep in mind, during this meeting a different administrative team was in place from the one we have today. Yet, everyone was serious about the tasks before them.
Today, we were tasked with building learning sprints. This concept really pushes you toward clarity with your objectives. (I lost you, didn’t I). Look, we think about what we are teaching next, and focus in one a specific skill that we are hoping our students to show growth in. We think of strategies to make that happen, and then we consider how we will measure that skill. AND BAM — you’ve got a very detailed, very clear plan for moving forward. Impressive, right?
AND THIS TO THE MIX: We don’t do this separately, but work as teams, so that students are being supported, and teachers have a unified mission. I really enjoy this planning time because it is where I work with my math teachers, to find ways to support them. I am only a tiny fraction of what happens for our students, but even in this small part, we coordinate so that my support can have a magnified effect.
This process is a great example of synergy, by the way. Synergy is habit 6 from The Seven Habits of Happy Kids and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Our school has some pretty powerful synergy happening, and I can’t wait to see how that benefits our students. I had a student run up to me at recess and say, “Hey! Mrs. Ellison! On the math test we took today, it had problems like we worked on, and I tried what you said. I think it worked good.” This 4th grader was happy and excited, and I was glad that they remembered what we had been practicing.
I love when our students get to see us working together. Coordinating with my 3rd and 4th grade teachers to find ways to support all students during math is a great privilege. One of my 3rd grade teachers told me that her student said, “Is it Wednesday? I love when you and Mrs. Ellison teacher together.” Me, too, kid. Working together both in the classroom, and in meetings pushes all of us to be more thoughtful about what happens for our students. I can think a some ways to help my students, but so can every other teacher in that room, and when we work together, we come up with better ways to make sure that real learning is taking place.
All of this ties back to what I wrote on the 33rd day of school — the secret power of allowing yourself to be the dumbest person in the room. I love surrounding myself with intelligent, thoughtful people because working together with them, helps me grow as an educator. We are better together.
Keep moving forward,