It’s Friday. And it’s not just any Friday, but one that comes before a beloved four-day weekend here in New York City where we celebrate the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. (NYC schools have also added Muslim and Chinese holidays to the calendar too!) If we are honest we all look forward to the opportunity to just pause, rest, relax and temporarily unplug from the demands of a teacher’s life. I believe these “mini-breaks” are absolutely vital for all of us in education because they are an opportunity for reflection.
Taking time at this point is especially necessary because many of us have been teaching for at least a month if not longer. So how has this first month or so been? How are the children? How are you…are you okay? Have you built a genuine connection with your students? Especially the one that’s driving you crazy, ‘cause you know she or he works your last nerve. Are you engaging them in the ABCs of learning? (affective, behavioral and cognitive…more to come on this soon)
There are many more questions you may be pondering. Like most teachers you might spend some part of your day or week considering what lesson, activity or assignment went well and which one fell flat. You may already be crafting your plans for October and the various themes and topics you would like to cover. Or perhaps you are meticulously following a pacing calendar from your school and just fine-tuning the lessons you have laid out for a particular unit.
Whatever the case I urge you, don’t just look at the curriculum you are teaching but also take a moment to reflect on this question Dr. Chris Emdin posed to us earlier this month: Where is the vision of excellence for our students? How do we model that for our young charges? How do expand our ways of defining brilliance so that our students can begin to recognize it in themselves? How do we maintain our focus on being culturally responsive while emphasizing outcomes as well our process and approach of teaching?
Here at CREAD, as we close out our first month with you, we are also taking a moment to pause and consider how impactful have we been in helping you in your practice. We’ve examined building relational trust, centering Afro-Latinx heritage, the ongoing movement of BLM and even looked at the issue of discipline in our schools. We invite you to look ahead as we do and “futurize” the next months, weeks, and days. How will you recognize Indigenous People’s Day in your classes? What will you share with your students about the 50th Anniversary of the Black Panther Party? What will you do to continue recognizing the accomplishments and contributions of Afr0-Latinx people? Will you discuss the Million Man March as it turns 21? As you reflect, prepare and craft your vision for the balance of this year, consider the connections you will make with and for your students.
Deep thinkers only