YOU are at the Magic!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

     There is so much change going on in the educational world, and with change comes anxiety.  We all want to do what is best for our students, and sometimes we struggle trying to figure out what that is.  What will make the difference that matters?

     I participated in a webinar this week with my new favorite guy, Christopher Lehman.  He co-authored Pathways to the Common Core and has a new book coming out that I am very excited about.  But, he started the webinar with a simple statement that made me fall in love with HIM, not close reading.... (even though his new title suggests otherwise).

     The standards are not enough.  Historical, empirical evidence suggests that standards alone have little effect on American students' achievement.  The standards are not magic.  WE ARE.

     If we ourselves are nervous in our classrooms, with new protocols, new programs, new everything, we are nervous about doing things right and are less effective.  The common core is supposed to help us align as a country, not dictate how we teach.  The standards alone are nothing.  It is what we, as teachers, do with the standards that make the difference.

     Believe in yourself.  Get support from colleagues.  Ask questions.  Teach others.  Use what you know works with your kids.  Follow the standards to improve your classroom instruction, but remember that YOU are the magic.  Believe in the effect you have.  Believe in your students.  Be confident in what you can do, and what difference can be made when you collaborate with others.  Be optimistic that the path we are on is the right one.  We are in this together, Hiawatha.

     And, remember, when you get overwhelmed (daily) and you are stressed out (constantly), find the things that bring you joy.  The pride students have in their new accomplishments, chocolate, and pumpkin spice lattes are the magic recipe for me.  Those things, coupled with the knowledge that I work in a fabulous place that makes a difference in the lives of almost 500 students every single day.  

     YOU are the magic.

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