What are you thankful for as an educator?
Monday, November 20, 2017
Later this week, most of us will gather with friends and family to celebrate the tradition known as Thanksgiving. Whether you plan to celebrate in a traditional manner with turkey and all the trimmings or whether you plan to take the road less traveled, let's take some time to celebrate why it is great to be an educator in this day and age.
To help you develop your own list, I share with you the seven things I am thankful for this season as an educator.
1. I'm thankful for the educators from whom I learn each day.
There are thousands of educators from coast to coast who regularly share resources, tips and strategies that you can use to become a better educator. Not sure who to follow? The website TeachThought has compiled a list of more than 50 educational blogs worth following. Do you learn better from Twitter? The website Getting Smart maintains a list of 125-plus educators worth following on Twitter. I'm on that list, you can follow me on Twitter here.
2. I'm thankful that schools are looking at ways to start later.
The research on brain development and sleep patterns is mounting, and it is telling us that we need to find ways to start school later for teens and adolescents. In this September MultiBriefs Exclusive, I explored this topic in more detail and discussed how many schools have started to make the shift to later start times across the country.
3. I'm thankful that we are being more mindful.
I started the new school year with my high school staff by having a training on mindfulness. According to the website Mindfulness in Schools, the latest research on neuroscience shows that incorporating mindfulness in the classroom often leads to positive changes in attention, compassion, emotional regulation and calming with students. With the stresses of today's fast-paced world, we can't go wrong by finding ways to be more mindful.
4. I'm thankful that we are starting to take concussions seriously.
Last year, my school revamped its "Return to Learn" concussion protocol after realizing that most student concussions were happening outside of our school's sports program, and thus we were doing a poor job of not only tracking injuries but also working with students who suffer from concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). If you are looking to do something similar in your own school, a great place to start is this report from the CDC: "Returning to School After a Concussion: A Fact Sheet for School Professionals."
5. I'm thankful that schools are finding better ways to address student misbehavior.
There is a myth among noneducators that children respond to punishment, and it can curb misbehavior. "You do the crime, you do the time" is often the sentiment from policies that enforce suspensions and exclusion for misbehavior. Yet the research shows suspensions do not work. More and more schools, including my own, are moving to restorative justice models. Not sure what they are or where to start? Check out this Education Week Teacher blog on the topic.
6. I'm thankful that schools are getting more personalized for students.
Those of you who follow my writing and social media posts know I am a big proponent of personalized learning models, particularly competency-based education. It is my belief that these models focus on student learning and growth, better engage students and work to close equity gaps. The website CompetencyWorks, hosted by iNACOL, has been tracking the rise of competency education across America for years, and keep their results in this map. As you can see, the movement has gained traction now in almost every state in America!
7. I'm thankful that as a profession, we are moving in the right direction.
The website Knowledgeworks has a great report on the future of learning, where they analyze trends in education through the impact layers of people, structures and society. Our future will look dramatically different than our current reality and will require schools that offer flexibility in ways we have never seen before.
What are you thankful for? What about your students? Before the short week is over, take some time to explore the concept of gratitude with your students. This HuffPost article provides some ways to do that with students in grades K-8. Here is another great resource on the topic from TeachHub.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
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