As another school year begins, it’s time once again to reflect on how this year will be different from last year. Of course, there are new students, new staff members, and for those at schools like mine, a new leader. There are changes to curriculum, new district initiatives, and new state mandates. These are important, but the most important change for 2015-2016 will be the changes that teachers make to instruction in their own classrooms–the implementation of research-based strategies and culture-building activities that can make this school year the best ever.
For the past two years, I’ve been focused on the word Inspire. This year, I’ve made a change. My new year’s resolution for this school year is to believe in my students. This may sound like a simple thing. “Who doesn’t believe in their students?” you might ask. Of course we all believe in our students. But do we always believe in the possibilities that exist in our students that are deeply buried?
This year I’m working to believe in and see the potential in all of my students. All students can learn at high levels; all students can move forward every day. All students can show academic and social growth.
We all know that it’s much easier to talk the talk than to walk the walk. It’s no different with this resolution. It’s easy to say that I believe in all of my students. It’s much more challenging to bring my actions in line with that so that all of my students know that I believe in them as well.
What will look different in my classroom when I’m truly walking the walk? How will I show my students that I believe in them? Equitable treatment is one requirement. Those before and after class discussions have to include all students. It may be those least likely to engage in conversations that need it the most. Equity also means providing scaffolds to help students reach high expectations rather than lowering those expectations for some students. In contrast, it also means pushing advanced students to grow and excel beyond the adopted standards.
None of this is easy to live out. It requires dedication and hard work (on top of an already large workload). In the future when students say to us (or to themselves) that we believed in them even when they didn’t believe in themselves, all of the hard work will be worth it.
What about you? What’s your New Year’s Resolution? Join the National Blogging Collaborative and post your resolution blog sometime during the month of September. Share it on social media with the hashtag #nbcbam (National Blogging Collaborative Blog-a-Month).