Seven Factors for Creating a Culture of Success

Lots of awesome conversation floating around at Table 3!

We were all able to come up with examples of what we’re already doing in our classrooms that are also examples of the seven factors.  We provide work that is student centered, purposeful, and relevant.  We build relationships with our students, their parents, and between our students.  We help our students visualize their future, and we work with our colleagues to help our students achieve success.

I’m excited to see where today’s conversations take us!

Teachers as professionals!

If I wanted to become a lawyer I would have to face my future peers, be accepted by them, and admitted to the bar. If I wanted to become a doctor, a similar process would ensue. Professionals peer review themselves. Scientists read and review the work of fellow scientists. Mathematicians, writers, and a bunch of other professional groups peer review each other. What do teachers do? Do we peer review? Do we have journals and labs where best practices are presented, commented upon, etc.?

In my dream school, teachers as professionals find ways to peer review each other. We build upon our best strengths and help our fellow educators become their best! We work together to find solutions instead of “solutions” being pushed upon us.

Teachers change the world in ways that doctors and lawyers can never do. Without teachers there is no math, no literature, no writing, no well developed thought. Our ideas change the world. It is time we push our ideas and grow from each other.

Day 2 IFT SBJ Summit

I am so excited to begin this second day.  I have met some amazing educators and feel blessed to be able to share this experience with other new teachers in my district.

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CTA IFT Strength Based Justice Summit

Today we visited the best of what is happening in education.  The motivation to get up in the morning and go to work is the positive core of your being.  This excites you and empowers your teaching.  The students are my positive core.  The sharing of knowledge but more so the inspiring of thought is what gets me going every morning.

I want to see a school that is based on open concept thematic learning.  A school co-designed by educators, students and parents to provides learning opportunities for students based on their strengths.  A school that offers opportunities to students to have practical knowledge about the world we live in as it applies to them.  A place where every students strengths is valued by all.  A school serviced by scholars and facilitators, where students are designing the program, flexible to their needs.

A school focused on learning.

This is my dream.

Positive.

At the Strength-Based Justice Summit, I was given the opportunity to envision my “Dream” classroom. My “Dream” classroom would focus on providing opportunities for all students to learn important life lessons. Life lessons in my “Dream” classroom would represent an interest in learning about yourself, building relationships, and being solution driven.  Today was a great day of collaborating with colleagues, and reflecting on making my “Dream” classroom a reality.

My Dream School

Today we are imaging, as well as imagining, a dream school. The value seems to be that we hone in on our deeper pedagogical drives. The thematic or philosophical bend, for me, seems to be where empathy, practicality, and theory meet.

At such a school there would, as examples, be designing student pathways to success. This demands that we analyze what students need to be effective members of our community or communities. We often talk about this as college and career readiness. Career readiness and college readiness are important. Vital, even. Their vitality is largely in what they provide for us as individuals and provide for our communities.

Just a few example of what would happen at this school is intentionally inviting parents and community members to lead exploration, positioning student leadership in all areas of the school, modeling structures and practices that are outside of the school, and identifying “real world problems” and exploring solutions and solving them.

Table 3, Phase 2, Step 2 – Themes for the Dream!

Our main theme for our perfect school is “Purposeful Relationships”.  Throughout all of our conversations today, our table kept coming back to the relationships we, teachers, build with our students.  And the relationships we build with each other, administrators, teachers in other districts, parents, community members…the list goes on and on.  These relationships all have purpose; there is a reason we care about building rapport with our students and their parents – with respectful relationships we can better serve our students and help them achieve their full potential.

Other themes we discussed include “Voice and Choice”, “Lead from Within”, and “Student Centered”.  Teachers should be able to voice what they feel would best serve their students, and choose the curriculum to help each child learn.  Students should also be able to use their voices!  We should be empowering them to use the skills we teach them.

Plans that led to action!

A powerful day for educators coming together to share their expertise.  The idea of thinking about the possibilities when borders and ceilings are removed is very empowering.  We moved through a variety of phases that allowed rich discussions to occur.  The discussions allowed educators with varying degrees of expertise and years of service to come together and move one another with our stories.  The day was filled with power and enlightenment as educators felt and shared the energy.

CTA Think Tank Strength Based Justice Summit

As a new teacher I did not know if I would have anything to offer; however, the discussion and think tank forum allowed me to feel very much a part of an incredible community of educators.  It is hard to imagine a school where the sky is the limit, but I believe we were able to do that.  I learned so much from my table group and listening to all the other table groups, I can not wait to share with my school site at next weeks staff meeting.

I am excited to be the vehicle of change!