For as long as I have been in education, I have challenged my students to think; challenged them to see all points of view, challenged them to listen to each other, challenged them to research, And challenged them to make informed decisions. This is the power of critical thinking skills....and something that I learned how to teach and then foster that in my classroom. Seeing other viewpoints, debating, accepting other viewpoints, are all in the realm of good communication skills. Listening, speaking, and thinking are all literacy skills that serve extremely important purposes in the classrooms, and as our students go forward. Where would science be without the power of thought?
How would things be built without being able to balance different viewpoints in order to make things safe and effective? How would anything or anyone exist if we did not have the opportunities to challenge each other to see other viewpoints, to accept other viewpoints, and accept those who have those other viewpoints even if they aren't our own? Educators have great power. They have the power to promote these very important topics in their classrooms. Our students will never stop thinking critically and will never stop debating and questioning and wondering. These are after all the skills that ultimately unite us.
As December approaches, I cannot help back look back on 2020. While this year is marred with experiences that make us want to wake up to learn it’s all been a bad dream, I am choosing to look instead at the amazing things that have come out of these negative experiences.
I am a firm believer that our character shows in times of crisis and great challenges. And here at MTC we also share the belief that God is more powerful than any illness, and will guide us if we choose to follow Jesus. And the amazing character of the people in our community has shown through time and again this year. I am so grateful to God for the strength he has given us in getting through the challenges this year has presented, and look forward to seeing the benefits that ultimately come from overcoming the obstacles.
And so as we experience together the greatest season of all, Christmas, let us reflect on the love we have given and received this year, the acts of kindness we have given and received this year, and the obstacles we have overcome to keep ourselves and our family safe and healthy, both physically and emotionally.
Let us continue to work together through 2021 and beyond to Create a Brighter Future, in both small ways and large ways…together we really can make a positive difference, and be the light that Jesus calls us to be in this world!
An old proverb states, "The wind does not break the tree that bends". Flexibility is a key trait that educators must-have, and never has it been more obvious than 2020. With a day’s notice, teachers were called on to move their classrooms to a virtual platform. Then, after a summer of planning and prepping, teachers were called on to adapt their learning environments to allow for 6 foot spacing of children, additional cameras to live stream to those unable to return, space for the mounds cleaning and necessary PPE supplies, and ways to make it all comfortable and welcoming in a time that is anything but normal.
Those same teachers entered the classrooms and put it all together with their new students. They added time before, during, and after their day to clean and disinfect all of the items used in the room. They sacrifice their own lunchtime to sit with the kids in the classroom while they eat. They wear masks and shields (not exactly comfortable) to protect themselves and others. And with all of those extra duties, they teach reading, writing, math, social studies, science, and the importance of living as good Christians, the importance of family, and putting all of our faith in God. Their flexibility continues to shine through in all they do.
These teachers do all of this each day for one reason….seeing the smiles on the children’s faces after so much was lost is worth every sacrifice made. And at the end of the year, when the children’s achievement is most profound, we will all know it was worth it.
I salute those who were able and willing to bend and to sacrifice so much extra to make the learning safe and healthy in a time when children and their families need it the most.
So much has been going through my mind this week as I watch not only what is going on in the world, but also what is going on in our virtual classrooms. So I am going to take a few minutes to share some of these thoughts, suggestions, and overall observations, so I am hopeful to keep your attention.
As a school administrator, I had to consider so many things when we found out, just the same moment everyone else did, that Governor Wolf was shutting down Montco schools. I had been planning a course of action prior to that, and had our Tech coaches meeting with teachers, but the true test came at 2pm last Thursday when everything changed. My immediate reaction was to keep everyone calm....it is a scary thing to know we are forced to close, and I had to somehow convey that to the kids. My next reaction was how are we going to continue to keep kids engaged in instruction without creating a momentous task for the parents and guardians? How can I ensure that the students at MTC will wake up every day knowing that their world, while changed, is still there and they are still going to get to learn and interact with their friends and teachers? And I think you all know the rest of the story. Read more