I Love Mistakes

I love my job.  It’s different every day.  I get to meet new people all the time.  It’s creative.  I travel to places I probably wouldn’t go otherwise.  So what’s not to love?  The fact that I don’t feel free to make mistakes.  As a teacher I loved experimenting with new lessons or new ways to talk to kids.  I wasn’t afraid of “failure” because most of the time nobody was watching.  And kids are very forgiving.  (Either that or they don’t notice when a lesson is a dud.)

But as a staff developer, I feel like I always have to be “on.”  Always have to be the expert.  So I stick to tried and true approaches.  No-fail lessons.  This year, though, I vowed to change that.  I decided that I would try new things.  Yes, while teachers and coaches and principals and superintendents watched.  I decided to try new ways of being with kids.  I let kids “perform” poetry before rehearsing.  I let students run minilessons.  I allowed kids to share their interpretations of text without making sure they saw “what the author really meant.”

And guess what?  I learned.  I learned that little kids can make music in the moment and don’t always need to practice for their peers.  I learned that a kid’s version of a minilesson is very different than mine, but that my new goal is to get kids to teach minilessons at least once a week.  And I learned that there are very interesting ways to interpret any text, if we just give kids a chance to explain their thinking and don’t butt in with ours.

I also learned that I don’t always have to be the expert.  And that’s very freeing.


The Week in Review

I’m loving my son’s second grade teacher, Lori Talbot!  On Fridays she gathers the class and they brainstorm: what did we learn this week?  She records their ideas on the board, then, in writing they respond to the following.

Three things I learned this week are:

Three skills/strategies that I worked on are:

I have been reading:

My favorite part of the week was:     Why?

The best part? She sends the sheet home for parents to read.  And my son is actually able to tell me about what he did in school.  I love how reflective this piece of teaching is.  (Not to mention the interesting dinner conversations.)