Dear Blake Families:
After a very full first week back after vacation, I hope that everyone was able to find some to relax this weekend. It is hard to believe that we have only been back one week! This weekend has been another busy one in the Vaughn house - MCPE spring fling on Friday evening, kids' sports events on Saturday, Holliston spring stroll, and Bruins watching. Sunday afternoon we enjoyed watching Maggie and Owen in the Little League baseball/softball parade - I can't believe how quickly they are growing up!
This week is Teacher Appreciation Week', and my hope is that the teachers are able to find some time to step back and reflect upon their work as educators. At this time every year I renew my goal to recognize the great efforts, small and large, that are made on behalf of our students. I have felt busier than usual as of late, but I hope to be able to take some time this week to connect, share, recognize, reflect, and listen. For me, as you know, our work is really about the formation of relationships. And, as is the case in our personal lives, relationships take work to be healthy, productive, and fulfilling. There are certainly ups and downs, but the commitment to ongoing improvement and care for one another has to be in place. And it is this care - to our students, one another, and our profession - that I see day in and day out at Blake that truly feeds me. We are fortunate to work in the community of Medfield and I feel our students are fortunate to learn from our teachers.
Below I have highlighted two posts that I believe reflect the understanding that relationships are at the core of our work and the impact we have on our students. The third post offers a nice perspective about the evolution of our profession and some nice suggestions for how we can recognize and appreciate one another.
Good Teaching Happens When Students Can Trust Educators
by Garrett deGraffenreid in Education Week
This brief post offers a unique perspective as it is written by a freshman in high school.
"Another trait that separates educators from other professionals (and makes them extraordinary) is passion. Teachers who love the subject they teach—and show excitement about exploring it with their students—make it easier for students to get interested. Teachers have the ability to change the lives of their students while preparing them for the future. When they focus on developing positive relationships with their students and demonstrating passion for what they do, they create a better learning environment for students."
The Power of Being Thoughtful and Kind
by Jeff Haden in Inc.
Although this post is written for a 'corporate' audience, the implications are clear for students and staff alike.
"So go out of your way to smile to everyone. Or to nod. Or to introduce yourself. And when someone does something that helps you, even in the smallest way and even if it's their job, go out of your way to say thanks. Make it your mission to recognize the people behind the tasks: the people that support, that assist, that make everything possible. Even though most of us aren't famous or notable, by recognizing people--especially those who have been conditioned to not expect to be recognized--we add a little extra meaning and dignity to their lives. And that's the best reason to go off point, off focus, and off task. Although, when you think about it, you really aren't taking yourself away from an important task. You're just shifting to an equally important task: showing people they matter--especially to you."
Appreciating Teachers by Understanding What They Do
by Mary Beth Hertz in Edutopia
"The next time you talk to a teacher, ask them why they got into teaching. Ask them about their favorite reading strategies, or a recent project their students worked on that they are really proud of. Ask them for advice for your own child's education. Ask them for their opinion on the Common Core Standards, or for their favorite learning website or tool in the classroom. If they have some great suggestions, ask them a favor -- ask them to send those resources to you by email, or write them down on the spot."
"Teaching is not what it was 15 years ago. Teachers are expected to track student data, integrate technology, map their teaching to standards and be familiar with the diverse ways in which their students learn, while also doing daily things like taking attendance, getting students to lunch on time, tying shoes, resolving conflict, grading homework, and all the while making sure that all of their students learn. They also work with families and with the community, creating partnerships and navigating the difficult world of interpersonal relationships."
"The best way to appreciate a teacher is to appreciate the hard work that they do and their high level of expertise by allowing them to share the positive and professional aspects of their career. Too often, we focus on the negativity that surrounds the profession in the news, and conversation turns to working conditions, class size, union issues or other outside forces that teachers have little control over. The best way to thank a teacher is not to treat what they do as a good deed, but to treat it as a highly professional career path that they love to follow, and for which they work hard to be successful."
Let's continue to take time to celebrate and share the good work that is taking place at Blake, both privately in conversations with one another and publicly via pictures, blogs, and general outreach. With sincere admiration for the care and commitment of the Blake staff - thank you and Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!
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