What Happens Now?

I attended a regional meeting today.  The structure was a bit different, round tables vs. one big square.  It was supposed to promote conversation.  The format was the same, sit and get, and little conversation. Perhaps that will change next time.  I am not complaining, just appreciating the small steps towards a change.

What was great about the meeting was the post-meeting gathering.  I stayed behind for a pre-planned meeting with a colleague, and a few others joined us.  I am not sure I learned a whole lot new, but I got a whole lot of affirmation today. 

I found out that we are in this together.  We are all confused about the federal stimulus funding.  We are all unsure if we are heading in the right direction.  We are SURE that we love what we do and are pleased with the high level of quality instruction we see every day in our buildings. 

So, what I wonder is how to maintain this momentum, this feeling that I am doing something correctly.  The meeting ended at 1:30, and just a few hours later, I already am back to feeling swamped.  I attended a department meeting this afternoon.  Teachers, too, are nervous about what the future holds for our students.  We all just seem to have a cloud over our heads; there is this elephant in the room, and it is causing us to spin our wheels in many ways.   

What will be the tipping point?  What will we have to do to feel better?  To feel stronger about what the future brings?  I keep doing my job as if things are the same, but I am wondering if I need to shift my thinking, or if I just need to hang on a little bit longer. 


Is Spinning Your Wheels a Bad Thing?

I have been spinning a lot since January 1st.  It a combination of many things.

  1. I need to feel better physically.
  2. I gave into peer pressure from friends in my boot camp.
  3. I have a constant need to find another way to relieve stress.  Exercising just works for me. 

So, as I spin, I think.  I think about work.  I think about my family, and I think about my to-do list which seems to grow when I am spinning.  Now, just so you know, spinning is rigorous.  Hour long sessions leave one tired, red-faced, sweaty and winded, but for whatever reason, I just think while I am exhausting my body. 

I kind of laughed at myself this week.  I think I am pedaling and pedaling, and I am getting nowhere.  I feel the same way about housework  some days (think of laundry) and I feel like this a lot at work. I am writing state plans, another year is almost over, and I am still not sure that I have had a part in moving anything forward.

So, spinning ends. She announces that we have gone 22 miles.  HEY!  I have ‘gone’ somewhere.  I have burned some calories, and I have increased my cardio endurance.  I also feel better.  I feel I can tackle that to-do list with a fresh head! 

Even though I complained about the laundry, when I got home, I really only had two more loads to go.  So, let’s think about work.

Our PDP Meeting is next week.  As look at our goals from this past year, I realize we have moved in some direction.  One goal was to continue to review our new mentor guidelines.  Our committee met last week, did a lot of reflecting, and left with a new mindset about our expectations for mentors and new teachers.  Although the budget drove a lot of our conversation, it did not hinder us from reflecting and creating a program that supports the work of new teachers and mentors.

Another goal was to continue to increase our student use of technology.  We have teachers who are using Twitter, CPS, wikis, blogs, and other web 2.0 tools.  It is not everyone, but it is a start.

We also slated curriculum articulation as a goal.  A review cycle was completed.  Departments have begun to update their already ‘rockin’ curriculum.  It is not everyone, but it is a start.

We also tackled the idea of formative assessments.  It is small, but Castle Learning is in full-swing in many departments and grade levels, and I am proud of our teachers who continue to assess students and steer their instruction accordingly. 

RtI continues to overwhelm me, but we did quite a lot this year.  Now, we just need to take another step or two to continue to move forward. 

I think about all of this in relation to being stuck in the snow.  (HEY!  If you are from the North, you will get this!)  Think of yourself rocking back and forth trying to get ‘unstuck.’ You spin a little.  A little bit forward and a little bit backward.  All of a sudden, you are out and in full force. 

So, I need to look at us.  We are going a little bit forward and a little bit backward, but ultimately we are getting out of the snow.  It just takes us a little bit longer!  🙂  Spinning isn’t a bad thing!  While we are spinning, lots is happening!