The Key to Success… #sol21

The Key to Success #sol21

September 7, 2021

A have a little motivation thought that pops on my laptop screen when I open my computer. Today it said, “the key to success is to start before you are ready.

Typically, I spend a lot of time getting ready… ready for the day, ready for meetings, ready for professional development, ready for assessments, for coaching meetings. So many reasons to be prepared.

I’m not going to throw out my coaching bag any time soon. I’m still going to have some books, some stickies, a few anchor charts prepared, but I’m not going to let myself delay the start of something past its launch time.

I’ve been desperately trying to be well-read on a few topics before the school year starts. Science of reading, phonemic awareness, new BIPOC books, culturally relevant teaching, our new assessment system, and a long, long list of topics.

I’ll be the … first to tell you, I don’t have it all figured out. I have a fairly solid base in most and the ability to keep reading and learning in all. You see, I don’t have to be the leader, just the lead learner. I’m practicing this sentence, let’s think through that together and this question, What might be important here?

Perhaps my administrator and many of the people I coach are hoping that I’ll show up and just have all the answers. There are times that I wish I did. I know what I do have… most of the right questions.

I’ve been thinking a great deal about the way young people learn and the way adults learn. I love the new mantra that is floating around our learning community these days, Firm Goals/Flexible Means. Let’s ‘row’ in the same direction, but we don’t have to all be in the same boat. Perhaps my boat is a kayak with a dog as a navigator…

I want to embrace a few things I did learn (relearn) over my summer vacation.

When learners set goals they achieve more. These first few meetings within my learning community, I hope I will be helping the adults set goals for their teaching and their learning. What is it that we want to accomplish this year? I know we are going to set those SMART goals for our evaluation, but what actually do we want to do/learn this year? this month? this week? TODAY?

One of the things I’ve learned here and throughout my career is that if we don’t do what we ask the students to do, we aren’t going to coach them very well. This principle has led me to write more, read more, consider more. So I’m going to set some goals AND I’m going to insist some other older and younger learners do as well.

Secondly, we can change our thinking and our practice. I remember this funny little verse from girl scouts, make new friends, but keep the old… one is silver and the other’s gold. Yep, I’m not throwing (m)any babies out with the bathwater, but I’m going to lead with practices that were not my lead prior to now. Full warning… we are going to be working on words and sounds…. a lot.

Also, I’m going to think long and hard about book choice. I don’t need to see myself in the books I read with and to the students, I need to see them. I can release Pinky and Rex for Yasmin, my precious Stone Fox for The Year of the Dog. The students will barely know the difference. The antics of Those Darn Squirrels are hard to beat, but is there a larger lesson with the same heart in The Honest-to-Goodness Truth.

So today as I look through the first week of lessons in all of the units of study, I’ll be putting on some new glasses… metaphorically.

and lastly (for now). I don’t have to be the expert in the room. I can be the lead learner or just one of the learners… perhaps just the most enthusiastic one.

3 thoughts on “The Key to Success… #sol21

  1. You’ll have to let me know how The Year of the Dog goes. Wren and I read it together last year. I suggested it to our third grade team too. They use Indian Shoes. Hooray for learning. It’s what keeps me going.

  2. Wow, Susan, you have some really important learnings here. I loved: “if we don’t do what we ask the students to do, we aren’t going to coach them very well.”

    And not throwing out (m)any babies with the bathwater. Hee hee.

    My favorite might just be the paragraph about books and how you don’t need to see yourself in the books you choose, but the students. Beautiful!

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