Lessons from Summer 2014

via Technology Tidbits by Twyla Felty

Everyone is a life-long learner….whether they admit to it or not. Each day we have experiences which can be internalized as life lessons, saved as priceless memories, or pushed to the side as obstacles or distractions from our “real lives”. These experience–whether great or small–are added to our core beliefs, affect future decisions and experiences and makes us “who we really are”.  This summer I learned things both great and small, silly and (to me) profound:

1. Never wear a tight black dress to the Chama Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse. It won’t really fit when you walk out the door! Choose something that has elastic…or at least room to expand!

2. The best time to take a picture of the Alamo is between sunrise and 7:00 a.m. Your only competition will be morning joggers (who ate too much at the Chama Gaucha Steakhouse the night before!).

3. Teachers that spend time in the summer preparing and planning are actually more psychologically and physically prepared for the beginning of the new school year!
Notice there’s no picture???

This summer I was blessed to present several workshops around the state and kept meeting great teachers from all grade levels, school sizes and backgrounds that had one thing in common: they planned and organized during the summer for the upcoming school year. This preparation wasn’t done for “comp days” or forced professional development. These teachers just have an internal drive, a personal “back-channel” that continually plans, creates and thinks about the classroom. This isn’t just about decorating or choosing a new theme either but involves those critical structures that affect functionality and instruction in the classroom. Yes, these teachers DO have personal lives. Teaching, however, is more than just a job to them. It is part of who they are. They just can’t help themselves! So, they are the ones first back to the classroom with a new theme or decor, but also with new lessons and ideas for instruction. Newness incites and excites! It energizes! These teachers are prepared and ready to return.

So, I don’t have a picture of this–a way to capture this lesson, but measuring a teacher’s readiness has long been elusive. The MET Project spent zillions of dollars and still can’t really define what makes a great teacher great or even begin to imbue into others this secret power.

Still, just as I know not to wear a tight dress to a Brazilian Steakhouse, I  know that teachers who prepare and plan during the summer, teachers with this deep-seated personal drive, are far more prepared and energized to meet the new year.
Deep down, you believe it too!
After all, who would you want teaching your child??

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