Monday, July 18, 2005

Gaining Focus

Another week of NeXt Generation Teacher training started today. Last week's training was facilitated by the folks at the Institute for Research and Reform in Education. They certainly did a great job at giving all of us new insights and techniques to incorporate into our classrooms.

I can't wait to get into the classroom again and meet all of my new students. One of the great parts about being back from summer vacation a few weeks early is the opportunity to meet and and work with the my new colleagues. Being part of a small community of dedicated educators is something that simply motivates me to be a better teacher. When everyone around me is so excited to be doing what they're doing, it motivates me to do even more to make certain each day is my best. It is daunting, and at the same time, exhilarating.

My focus for the upcoming year will be on writing, on helping my students become the expressive, genuine, talented writers I know they are inside.

I was out mowing the lawn this afternoon and took the time to think and focus on any and all of the possibilities that lie in the year ahead. The potential for life and world-changing work from my students is unlimited. Coupled with my interest in improving their writing is my interest in helping them to see their roles and power as thoughtful, productive participants in our society.

At university, my professors referred to it as "Realizing the Democratic Ideal." I was swamped with finals and my senior thesis at the time, so I don't think I really took a close look at the phrase nor the time to think about all it implies. As a teacher, now, with my own classroom and responsibilities to my students, that phrase has returned to the front of my thinking. It's what I think this year needs to be about.

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