Conversations on Education // 1

Kick-starting An Amazing School Year

Wow, it is August, 2014 and we are preparing to enter into the 2014-2015 school year with the hopes of great results, an ease of teaching and a great connection with our new students. Thirty-five years ago, I began this teaching odyssey. The first year was TOUGH. I had not indulged the idea that data and thought and process flows naturally into systems that assist the teacher in their performance and the students in their understanding. I barely survived teaching high school physical education, grade nine history and art and religious studies for grades 7-12. In addition, I was asked to coach the basketball team and the track and field team. Crying was often closer than laughter. It was exhausting. 

However, that was then and this is now. Now I see students as future leaders, and my role as mentor far exceeds the curriculum. It is the role of giving tools that will help the students navigate the essentials of learning and assisting them to create systems within which they can interpret data, design their thinking and present their thoughts in ingenious methods. 

One thing I quickly became clear of is that September is not for fun in my classroom and I have little concern for whether the students 'like' me. With that in mind I do have the experience to know that this sacrifice of establishing credible systems in the classroom, in the student's work and in the manner in which the work is presented results in greatness and deep appreciation from them to me by the end of the year. The most "dreaded" teacher becomes the most loved. Isn't it so funny how this cycle works? Simply put, the order, the pre-work of planning, great resources, consistent expectations and an understanding that our role goes "Beyond the Curriculum" is the kick-start that will bring times of intense concentration, joyful silence and unbridled laughter both from your students and from you.

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