So much of my cognitive energy is thinking about collaboration and relationships among my peers, parents and students. It is consistently an area of growth each year. I am grateful for my professional development opportunity with Laura Lipton in this matter. Her book, Mentoring Matter: A Practical Guide to Learning Focused Relationships, has been a blessing for me. Moreover, my studying of Jiddu Krishnamurti and the Dalai Lama has helped me become a more compassionate, patient and kind human being.
Our teaching team has struggled mightily to work together. I am proud of my advice in helping the team work more efficiently. When I started my career at my current school, the fourth grade team did not take meeting minutes. I am responsible for beginning the trend of documenting our discussions. Today, we no longer simply take detailed minutes; our team follows protocols that guide our meetings. We, no doubt are more effective and professional. I am proud of our growth. I have assisted our team leader to develop learning focused agendas that maximize our available time together. I find this is a worthy endeavor.
My relationship with our literacy coach is one that I value. She is in her first year at this position. I have done everything I can to show my appreciation for her work. I have supported her on a number of committees and focus groups. During each meeting, I make sure to take something new that I will at least try to use in my classroom. I then make it a point to report to her the positive change she has affected in my classroom. This makes both of us feel better about the work that we do and, in turn, improves student learning. This habit demonstrates that I respect her ideas and it gives her confidence. It is very important to me that she is poised in her new role as a literature coach.
I am proud of my work with my students’ parents. As an international educator, I sometimes need to intervene in family matters. This is a difficult but necessary task to improving learning in my classroom. I have much experience working with parents who are struggling with culture shock and with homesickness. I have spent a great deal of time listening to mothers and fathers discuss their fears with me. This is a habit that is above and beyond what is expected of me but I find that it time well spent. I have received much praise and appreciation in this regard.
You are What You Share
My philosophy is to share all the educational materials that I develop and to appreciate all the shared materials my colleagues distribute. I choose to forget negativity and choose to trust the goodness of all who walk through the doors of our school. This may sound naïve or perhaps, idealistic. I find this habit is most effectual.
I truly believe that everyone on our team is a potential educational leader so I choose to treasure each member’s commitment and comments. I seek to understand while withholding judgment. I give time to support and I am constantly looking to empathize with my teammates. My door is always open each morning. I seek to drop vagueness and universals when I speak, and I instruct others to, as well.
I actively listen and consistently strive to teach “in the moment.” I try mightily to be as sensitive as an Irish-American from Boston can possibly be. I write many thank you notes via email.
I smile constantly. I dress professionally, each day. I volunteer often. I commit to inspire my teammates to accept change while staying committed to the school’s mission.