Dear Blake Families:
I hope that this update finds everyone well. After a lovely and festive barbecue on Friday sponsored by the Blake CSA and Medfield High School PTO, our professional afternoon was spent in a workshop facilitated by Christi Clark Barney on the topic of anxiety. Since our time together as a staff in the workshop, I have found myself reflecting a great deal on the impact we have on our students and our role as educators. Many great resources and ideas were shared and I look forward to future discussions and work together to best support our students' well-being and learning. A few key mindsets/ideas that particularly resonated with me include...
- 'Finding a child's language' - taking the time to truly tap into each student's language and asking the question, 'What works for you?'
- 'Drive the stretch of the road you're on' - keeping the focus, for both students and ourselves, on the tasks at hand
- Shifting the question from 'What can I do to decrease the student's stress?' towards 'What can I do to improve the student's ability to cope with stress?'
- Taking time to identify both 'assets and liabilities' - we often focus on liabilities first, and it is more often the accentuation of one's assets that brings forth progress
Keeping these mindsets at the forefront of our thinking will help build and strengthen the relationships with our students. They serve as reminders of the importance of 'listening' to the needs and perspectives of one another. Solutions and action plans are certainly part of our work, but it is critical to remember that the first step is to ask questions, listen, and identify what information we need to collect or understand.
As a parallel, I am sharing a post this week from Peter DeWitt, an educator I often highlight, who writes a piece in Education Week called 'Finding Common Ground'. The field of education is full of debate and we may not always see 'eye to eye' for how to approach our work, but the process of approaching 'common ground' is essential and necessary for our students.
Education: Is There No Common Ground?
by Peter DeWitt (@PeterMDeWitt) in Education Week
"We seem to be missing common ground, especially when we talk about education. I understand it. Education brings about a real visceral reaction from people. Unfortunately, that does not lead us to anywhere productive. There is so much noise out there these days that teachers, parents and students do not know where to turn."
"I guess, in the end, I'm trying to find common ground with people I do not always agree with, and continue to build consensus with those that I do."
I appreciate DeWitt's perspective and hope that we can keep a similar approach in mind with our students, one another, and the greater community. With Mother's Day this past weekend, my intention was to do my best to take a break from school and unplug as much as I can. As you know this is an ongoing challenge for me, but is one that I know is worthwhile.
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