A million years ago, or so it seems, I had an education professor who believed that the most powerful tool a teacher could have was to be reflective. Of course, I just like all newly minted teachers, was just about surviving the day, week, semester……..reflection wasn’t a priority in my repertoire. These days, it is one of the most important elements of my practice, not just about how I teach but how I view what happens in our school as a whole.
This school year saw a lot of changes to my school. I admit I was a little apprehensive about how everything was going to work out, and if I’m honest at the start there were a few rocky moments. Then a few things happened and everything started to fall into place and our little high school went through something of a change in atmosphere.
My first teaching job was in the lowest performing school, in the lowest performing school district in, get this, the country. Something had to change, we got a new leader with a new vision for the school. One of his keys was changing the ‘anti-nerd’ culture. He wanted the cool kids to be the ones who worked hard and were academically successful. At the end of the year our scores went from 14% to 50%. We had a graduation celebration, fancy clothes, limos, the whole deal.
The next year all the kids wanted a piece of the action. The whole atmosphere of the school changed for the better, it went to prove that a great deal of hard work from both faculty and a relatively small group of engaged kids could bring about positive change for everyone.
Fast forward twenty-five years and I get to experience it over again. Now my current school was never the ‘war zone’ I started in, it has been a wonderful place to work for the past 10 years with great colleagues and awesome students.
So what happened?
Well. for one thing a new principal with a different perspective. Then………
We won a football game, and another, and another, the wins just kept coming. The excitement was palpable. Then the girls made playoffs in volleyball for the first time in forever and it reached fever pitch! These players and their coaches worked really hard and they were being successful.
Here’s the thing that makes me feel like I’m reliving the past. My time in my classroom has never been so good, my kids are working their hardest, I had a student, this week, tell me it was cool to do well. Positivity, which I believe is born out of our extracurricular success seems to be contagious. And not just for the students. I’m not the only teacher loving my job, we are having so much fun, job seems like the wrong word.
In reflection, it is apparent that it is universal truth that hard work brings about success and when recognized and celebrated success, any success, academic, sporting, whatever, creates a culture where everyone wants a piece of the action.
Long may it continue…..GO REBELS!!!!