Getting Centered Reflection
I would consider myself to be culturally different from the majority of my students, as well as every other teacher at our school. A large number of our students are gang members, which is often considered more than family and may even transcend race. Some students are not, and may share ethnic and cultural similarities to some teachers, but they are not a significant percentage of our demographics. When I read the Fullan quote, I thought about how successful schools have used protocols and certain routines that really do institutionalize the approach to culture and collective learning, and make it a part of everyday work.
Going Deeper Reflection
The questions posed in Table 9.1 brought a lot of questions to my mind. For the first question about “benchmarking success”, I thought about how the transition to common core has left many school in a limbo state on that topic. How do we approach the changing ideals of success? On the topic of how I keep myself informed and engaged, I asked myself how I can do more to research models of success with at risk students and bring those ideas to the table?
Vignette 10 and the sections that followed were interesting in how they approached collective learning from a strategic location perspective. It reminded me of a show I watch called “Bar Rescue” that helps to turn around failing businesses. A large part of their remodels are always centered on how to situate the layout to get people to travel around the bar in the way that maximizes profit and entertainment. It is interesting that schools can take a similar approach in order to maximize socialization and collaboration efforts.
- At first I was a little taken aback by the term “institutionalized” being used in a positive way. As I read I could understand the desire to institutionalize and sort of internalize the process that make culturally proficient PLCs continue to thrive over time.
- “we know and understand the importance of working interdependently rather than independently,” but in my opinion the interdependent work has to be at least somewhat structured and very intentional.Just asking people to work collaboratively is not enough, especially if it is a new approach to the teachers. Adults need guidance and facilitation just as much as students, so it’s important to provide opportunities and protocols for collaboration.
- Vignette 10 really hit home for me, for reasons I already explained in the final reflection above.
Getting Centered Reflection
As I read Fullan’s quote, it sounds like the ultimate dream, but one that my school has a long way to go to achieve. What it will take is a more personalized learning method that addresses each student as an individual and closes the gap between all students. That is very much in line with my core beliefs, and I believe I am who I say I am. I don’t claim to be perfect or an expert, and I approach everything as learning experience.
Digging Deeper Reflection
The kinds of questions that we mostly ask are very operational and based on necessity. We have very little time to dig deep into issues because there are pressing needs not being addressed. It reminds me of the whole Hierarchy of Need, where there are basic needs we must achieve before moving into enlightenment.
Final Reflection, Questions and Actions
This section was very detailed but here are some of the highlights:
What am I most intentional about in my teaching and learning?
Treating everyone as an individual
Who am I in relation to my colleagues?
A source of support, a positive attitude, a hopeful participant.
Who are we as a professional learning community?
We are passionate teachers that want the best, and we are creative problem solvers.
Who else do we need to include in our professional community?
ALL Stakeholders: probation line staff and field officers, parents, families
- A coworker of mine also recognizes the need for more of a celebration of our school culture, and next year we are organizing ways to get together and celebrate each other like potlucks, fundraising lunches and bake sales to raise money for group activities, etc. I hope to bring my knowledge of cultural learning to encourage other teachers to get to know one another.
- I am also applying for the “head teacher” position next year, so I can try to bring some of this knowledge to leadership to better facilitate the PLC time we do have. Even if I don’t get the position, I think as a participant I can help use breakthrough questions to help teachers examine our way of doing things.