Old. New. Borrowed. Blue. Commitment.
The past 2 days have filled my brain to overflowing. I left GRREC both days feeling… alive. Overwhelmed. But alive. That sounds weird, I know. But I was not surprised, just saddened, with the a statistic shared from Gallup:
Only 31% of our teachers are fully engaged in our schools.
The people who are supposed to be engaging young minds are not engaged themselves. And I was one of them.
I’m not sure what happened, how I ended up in that place, when it happened. I”m not even sure I knew I felt that way until yesterday. My realization began with this question posed on the opening slide of our 2-day venture.
Are Your Best Days Behind You or Ahead of You? Chicago Tribune 2002
I left yesterday with a smile on my face, excited to call home and share some of what I learned with someone! And when I looked so forward to returning to our session “Leading and Sustaining a Coherent Vision for Mathematics Teaching and Learning” – I knew this was a turning point for me.
Defining our vision.
Is our vision coherent? What we hope to become…but we must be patient because it may take a while to get there. These are the non-negotiables, our professional duty. Are we compelled by our vision?
Do we mean it or not? Do our actions / ways honor it? Does our instruction / behaviors advance our vision? We agree to the vision, do we hold each other accountable?
I was reminded of a reflection our department did several years ago, what we wish to see in a dream math student and what actions can we take to support students to reach our dream student? Here was our poster from 2014…
Like so many other things, I’m not sure we ever had follow-through with this task. But I wonder how differently our reflection would look if we repeated it today?
Here are a couple of examples of other groups’ work on Monday… They used the acronym DRIVE and SOAR. Other groups used CARDS (school mascot) and MATH. He shared one with Math Teachers lend an EAR: Equity, Assessment and Reflection.
My big takeaway – that we arrive at consensus, an image / tag that we can quickly share / refer to with parents / students / other stakeholders. Then we make every decision – based on our shared, defined vision.
Within the discussion, Dr. Kanold defined consensus as – everyone’s voice is heard but the will of the group prevails. If I’m honest, I cringed. Am I willing to let go of new things I want to try and do? What if an idea is outnumbered? What if I never get to try anything new? So I presented a question on our parking lot.
His response today – we are constantly in action research in education. Part of the team can try a new idea. But our agreed upon vision becomes the authority. IF we want to try something new, we must ask IF it advances our vision? Does it exceed our opinion? Why? Provide evidence / research. Try it. Compare. If it works better for student learning, everyone agrees to use it. If not, then stick with old way. In the end, I (we) have to sacrifice my opinion(s) in an effort to advance student learning.
Over the next several days, I plan to revisit my notes and share a summary to reflect / process / plan considering these big ideas from the past couple of days:
- Instruction / Planning Whole group vs Small group discourse
- Check for Understanding vs. Formative Assessment
- Common Assessments & Tools to evaluate quality
- 4 Critical Questions of a Collaborative Team Culture
- My Intentions for the upcoming year…
On a 1-5-10 scale of Stinky, Good, Great – I will give our #coherentvision days a 10!
Do you have a successful PLC? Please share some things that made it work for your team!