The summer is a busy time of learning for many many educators. Conferences, edcamps, online learning opportunities, twitter chats, and more are available pretty much 24/7.
There are many many wonderful educators who are doing many wonderful things in their classrooms (or did many wonderful things) and it is fantastic that they are willing to share their ideas with us.
You are sitting at the feet of giants who have gone before you (usually pretty successfully) and as they share their thoughts — it is very easy to start wanting to have what they have or to be like them.
But before you decide to do a complete make-over of your classroom, your lesson plans, and perhaps your teaching style……I ask you to remember the following.
Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Your classroom is filled with opportunities and re-imagination options. Look at ideas that were shared but make them work within your classroom setting and your classroom budget. Don’t go broke just to buy something because someone told you to. Be creative and garage sale and thrift sales to decorate your room but remember, their classroom was not rebuilt in a day.
Your administration is not theirs!
One of my pet peeves is when someone says “it is easier to ask for forgiveness than ask permission”. For me, that shows no respect or offers any opportunity for conversation. You know your admin…..you know where you can stretch the line and where you need to be wise. Bring your administration into the conversation. Seek their wisdom, include them in your planning. If your admin IS on your side for classroom change that will much more beneficial than an admin who feels you went behind his/her back.
Your strength is you!
When you are listening to someone share their story, you often are only hearing the triumphs, the successes, and the ends. You very rarely hear the pitfalls, the failures, and the Plan B, C, D…and more. So, before you reinvent yourself to be something new….look inside to see what is WORKING already — working well …. and then start building some new ideas. And also, be honest and look to see what is NOT WORKING — and be willing to start making some changes on that too. But don’t change to be like someone else…make changes that will make you a better you.
Your goal is your kids!
Right now, being an educator is so exciting! There are so many learning choices available and the opportunity to be the best teacher your students will ever have is right before you.
Take what you learned and sift it through your classroom strainer. You will know your kids better than anyone else. That is a strength you have that they will never have. So take the ideas shared but make them work with your class.
It is always good to learn new things…..and it is always good to change up your classroom, you teaching style, and your hopes/dreams for each new year. But remember, you were hired to be in your classroom. Not the person who you just heard at a conference, edcamp, read their book, podcast, etc. Your administration chose “YOU” because they wanted you.
So, after you listen and learn from the giants this summer, don’t walk away wanting to be a mini-me of them —
Take what you learned……meld it to work best with you, your classroom, and most importantly your students…..
and be the best YOU you can this next year!