This post is reposted with permission from the Ignite, Inspire, Innovate blog by Kheila Dunkerly.
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Future Ready Conference in VA. I was inspired by the energy in the room and the new connections that I made. Reflection was a huge component of the two days. Multiple reflection tools were used including Padlet, Bulb, FlipGrid, Post-It Notes and photos. However the power wasn’t in the tools, but in the time that was intentionally carved out to reflect. Reflection should be a daily practice for ourselves and for our students. We need to make reflecting a priority!
Reflection has always been something I have valued. When I was younger, I had a locked diary hidden in my room. In college, I had a gratitude journal where I would identify the things I was grateful for each day. Now as a mother, I love reflecting with my boys as we share our peaks and pits of the week. Reflection allows us to celebrate the small victories, encourages us to identify areas or ideas we want to improve upon, and it guides us as we develop our next steps. I haven’t been as intentional with my reflection time and at the end of the conference I made the commitment to myself to do better.
Rewind and Recap
Does Your Practice Match Your Beliefs?
Brianna Hodges facilitated the instructional coaches strand and one of the first things she asked us to do was to list everything we did in our coach’s role the day before. The paper filled up fast and it was eye opening. Try this! You will gain a better perspective on how you are utilizing your time. We then took time to record our belief statement, or the “why” behind what we do. This belief statement is what should be driving us each day. We have all heard someone say, “I am just a teacher” and maybe we have even used those same words ourselves. This is unfair to the profession. We are so much more than “just” anything. If you haven’t, I encourage you to take the time to record or write down you mission statement. Keep it visible! Refer to it! Hold yourself to it! The real power in this activity came during the comparison of our responsibilities to our “why.” We must make sure our practice supports our beliefs! If they don’t, then we need to reevaluate.
Tom Murray always delivers a powerful message and last week was no different. While discussing space redesign, he stressed the importance of mindset over money. I know many of you might be shaking your head in agreement, but is that the message you are sending? Are we spending more of our time selecting paint colors than discussing the type of learning that we want to see in a space? I know that I have been guilty of this. Don’t get me wrong, I think that design elements and flexible furniture are important. We want students to feel empowered in the space and move it to fit their needs. However, all of the flexible furniture in the world won’t change anything unless we all have a clear vision of what is going to occur in the space.
Education is a Team Sport
The Future Ready Frameworks allow you to see the connections among all of the different Future Ready roles within a district. Education is a team sport. We need to understand and value what each player is bringing to the table. One position isn’t more important than the other and when we realize that, we start to truly function as a team. This understanding leads allows us to better support and encourage one another. One of the most valuable parts of the frameworks is the connection to collaborative leadership. At the heart of all of our work is student learning and these frameworks encourage all of us to lead in a way that will best support our students.
Thanks for rewinding with me!
Khelia Dunkerly is an Innovation Specialist and works with amazing students, teachers, and administrators each day. Before this position, she taught elementary school in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania for 13 years. Each year, each state and each student have brought different learning experiences and opportunities. Read and subcribe to Khelia’s blog – Ignite, Inspire, Innovate.
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