Yesterday, I saw two of my favorite people move on to new chapters in their educational journey. Angela Patterson and Kate Sommerville exemplify what it means to be a change agent in education. Their work has inspired my efforts to transform my classroom. So, what is so special about them? They “do”. They had an idea and they did it. Their idea was to build a learning community in which each learner's individuality was recognized and celebrated as a source of strength for all. They changed the physical, academic, and emotional space of their learning environment. But, they did it in only a few months’ time. They understood that the perfect moment will never come along and the plan will never be perfect. It’s the goal that matters. They helped show me that planning is important but the journey doesn’t really begin until you are doing it.
Don’t get me wrong, you need a plan before you do. Kate and Angela are meticulous planners. But, they move quickly. If you don’t plan well you end up wasting precious resources. But waiting wastes your most precious resource, time.
They have taught me that the biggest risks are the most rewarding. They also taught me that the bigger the risk the more you need to collaborate. As a person who is very much a loner, this is a tough one. It’s not easy for me to ask for help from others. I’ve learned, though, that by inviting the right people on your journey will make it the results exponentially better.
My collaborations allowed me to do great things this year.
My collaboration with my Co-teacher Andelee Espinosa and our classroom aids allowed for a fully inclusive physics classroom where all students were able to demonstrate mastery of learning outcomes.
My classroom collaborations with Kate and Angela allowed high school physics students and 5th graders to collaborate on challenges and learn from each other.
My professional collaboration with Kate and Angela allowed us to present on Pear Deck at SLATE conference.
My collaboration with a group of my students allowed them to present at the Institute for Personalized Learning’s Annual Convening.
My collaboration with our building administration, facilities team, Andelee, and brave students allowed us to pull off our personal project expo twice this school year.
My collaboration with leaders at all levels of our district allowed us to pull off the first EdCamp Elmbrook.
This year has been "The Year of Do” but it couldn’t have been done if it also wasn’t "The Year of Collaborate”.