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Everyday Resolutions

Happy New Year! Today is the first day of school for 2009. Children and teens renew classes and adults resume the important work of learning and growing. Resolutions were made at the begining of this year and, as with each year, some are followed while others will fade with the best of intentions. At least, that has been my consistant accomplishment.
What if the resolutions we set were more long term? Also, what if we made resolutions weekly, or even daily? Mini-resolutions based on the big picture. It would allow for small step successes. Or if that seems much, how about a resolution based on why we are in the teaching profession? A daily mantra, each day I will do best by my students. I will work with those who struggle, and perhaps act as if they want no help; and, I will help those who need to be stretched to become better than they have in the past.

Each day, list the names of the students in those two categories whom you worked with. Don't label success or failure. One day does not show enough trend to see growth. Yet every 2 weeks or once a month look at your list. How many times did you work with that difficult student? Made personal contact with them to improve their learning--how is their progressive "baby steps" going? How is the advanced student growing? After 3 months see what progress made from a simple daily resolution to work with your students.

Happy New School Day!!!

Keeping New Year Resolutions:
Article 1: How to Make a New Year's Resoluton
Article 2: Making New Year's Resolutions Count
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Passion & Persistance

The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called "truth." ~Dan Rather
“Teachers who inspire know that teaching is like cultivating a garden, and those who would have nothing to do with thorns must never attempt to gather flowers.” ~Author Unknown


Working with teachers on instructional strategies and lesson plan design is a fruitful experience. Teaching is a challenging occupation that requires tremendous skill, knowledge, and energy. Non-educators do not fully realize the level of giving of oneself that educators do on a daily bases. Educators of true quality strive daily for their students, persistence as their guide and reflection on practice as their mentor. They are anchored by the genuine belief that all students can learn without limits. It’s been my pleasure to meet such stars.

All educators travelled a rough road with experience a harsh mistress. Those who come through with conviction in persistence, reflection, and belief in students’ limitless capacity are on path to becoming a teacher of quality. Some of my colleagues might scoff at this. Several, on occasion, might express something like:

When is enough, enough? How much of myself must I give to a student who seems uninterested or undervalues my offering before I cut off the flow? Where do I draw the line that the student must come part way before I put forth more effort in them? At what time do I let go of a student who is not ready, unwilling, or unable to rise up to tasks and/or expectations themselves? If a person or group chooses not to put forth adequate effort, wants not to be present and perhaps skips meetings and/or cares not to take responsibility for their learning, at what point, with a heavy heart but with tough love, do I let them go?

Answer:
Never.

So long as the student(s) is with me they are my classroom family, my sacred duty, and sometime burden, my mystery to unravel, my garden to grow, my wards to protect. Their failures are my learning opportunities, their frustrations are my puzzles to unlock, and their achievements are my epiphanies. Their struggles are my prophesies to decipher for helping future students and myself.

A learner's growth, incremental and/or gargantuan, is the reason why, in the teaching profession, I exist.</font>
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A Parent's Letter to their child going to school

Teachers assign students interesting assignments. One example, students bring homework for their parents: Write a letter to your child as they enter 5th grade.
No, this is not a "Are you smarter than a 5th grader" moment. Parents write a letter that students will have as they enter their last year prior to Middle School. They are the "seniors" of elementary school. Here's an excerpt of one parent's letter:

Fifth grade is a special year for you. Next year you will enter the world of... Middle School. I am so happy that the warm rays have returned, and the storm clouds and cold rainy season has left your heart regarding school.
There are important things for you this year. Do your best. When your best seems not enough, ask for help, learn another way to do the work so your best gets better. There are no short cuts. There are time saving skills. It may seem strange but if you take your time, review questions, and go over work your best will grow taller than a rising helium balloon.
Finally, and most important, keep a light heart. Remember what joy feels like, and pour a glass of it when you do work that you find difficult or frustrating. Storms need not return at school if you keep a reserve of sunshine in your heart.
Love and Always Proud of you.