Push the Limits

Our school district is on fall break and it is giving me time to look through all of my blog posts that I have written, but never posted. Here is one that should have come out months ago! There is so much negative press about education. We have to change the narrative. We are doing great things!

Everyday I am amazed. I am amazed by teachers, custodians, and administrators and everyone in-between pushing themselves to their limits and I am in awe. In my position as the library media specialist, I have an eagle’s eye view of the happenings of our school and district from the inside out and the outside in. I love this. Sometimes I claim it is like a game of Survivor because I often find myself between the reality of a teacher’s life in the classroom and administrative decisions that don’t always mesh.

I take the job of learning from all points of view, thinking creatively, and helping both sides meet somewhere in the middle seriously (if it makes sense). I ask “Why?” a lot. “Why are we doing this?” “Why CAN’T we do that?” “Why does that matter?”  “Does that matter?” “Why do you feel that way?” “Why don’t you ask?” “Why? Why? Why?” I sound like a toddler who just can’t get enough.  I don’t fear heated conversations or stating my opinion because I want what is best for everyone and I am willing to push the limits to get just that.  I am also thankful for administrators and teachers who constantly challenge my thinking and push me to see things from different perspectives. Sure, we can’t make everyone happy, but if we are fighting for what is best for kids, in the end, happiness is found through seeing kids do their best and that is why we are all here.

Our journey to and through Understanding by Design has been one of those passionate shifts that our school has been working through. After a meeting with our 5th grade team this week I am buzzing with excitement. Many times throughout this process we had to bridge the gap and push our limits, I can now say we are there and oh, how sweet it is.

We have worked for 4 years focusing on student tasks and the depth of knowledge. We did walkthroughs, book studies, goal setting, deep digging and we realized at the heart of it all was a lack of alignment.  Four years into it and we are finally seeing how alignment can transform teaching and learning. YES!  As much as this has been a  frustrating process, I am amazed at our teachers’ hard work. After a recent meeting I was pumped to see this vision of alignment and deep thinking become a reality. I am so pumped because with alignment, student learning will make sense to those who matter most, our students. Kudos to our 5th grade team. You are pushing the envelope and I am honored to be a part of your team.

Keep asking “Why?”, don’t be afraid to speak up, and continue to push the limits. You never know what kiddo might need just what you are fighting for.