Half done. So the saying goes, but having put just 8 days of the 2017/18 school year behind me, I’m not feeling much truth in the adage.
Still, I’m feeling good about the road ahead. And I want to do a better job this year of creating a written record of my experiences – to learn from, naturally, but also because I think it’s right to practice what I preach. If I’m going to consistently ask my students to reflect, in written form, on their learning, it’s best to model it myself.
An Honest Journey
I also think, though, that we need to be honest about our journey. I’m in just my 4th year of teaching, and 3 of those years I’ve been fortunate (and willing, let’s not forget that) to be on the leading edge of Vista High School’s version of high school transformation. Loads has been written about the efforts we’ve made, and while I absolutely do believe we’ve done great things – things that serve the needs of our students well – we’ve also made countless mistakes along the way. Not much has been made of them.
And when we neglect to tell those stories, we not only neglect to learn the critical lessons those mistakes demand, we also make the work needed to change public high school appear mysterious. Like it’s the domain of some select group of people who are way smarter than the rest of us, but not for us.
When I see a truly superb example of a teacher doing great things with students, but I don’t get to see at least a glimpse of the struggle that it took to get there, it makes it seem, to me, like that teacher was just born special. Like she has some innate quality that makes her so capable and innovative and creative and clever. And I’m always left feeling less than. Like that’s not possible for me.
So I’m hoping to show, here, that whatever gains we make as we evolve into an XQ Super School, they’re the result of something real. And ‘real’, at least for me, is messy and full of failures. Good stuff too, for sure, but if we only show the highlight reel, I think we’re missing an opportunity to connect, and to truly reimagine where the road takes us from here.
More to come.