Kicking Off My #56JEFCOEDSchools Tour
The Alabama Teacher of the Year receives numerous requests to visit schools, attend conferences, make presentations, and write articles. As the school year starts, I realize that I can create my own path, design my own learning experiences, explore possibilities. Over the years, when teaching full time, I had often wished I could visit other teachers’ classrooms. After all, wouldn’t that be the best professional development? I also wondered what it would be like to be a student. We all were students once, but times have changed. Methods I use in the classroom differ vastly from those my teachers used. What is the school day like as an administrator or a counselor?
Today, I have decided to visit all Jefferson County Schools over the 2016-2017 school year. While I would love to spend an entire day at each school, that may not be feasible. Given my duties around the state, it may take longer than this school year, but the challenge is on! What will I discover? What are our strengths and our weaknesses? The media all too frequently focuses on the negative. I will try to look for the positive, those best practices that I can share with other teachers, strategies that can actually move students forward. Realizing that we learn from problems, from mistakes, from failure, I will also look for those areas in which we need to improve so that we can find solutions.
My plan is to shadow a student, a teacher, a counselor, a staff member, an administrator, a coach, a bus driver, possibly a cafeteria worker (let’s check the regulations first), and several central office administrators. Jefferson County has 56 schools in many neighborhoods around the county. The first schools I will visit are those in my feeder pattern. The premise of science fiction is that one can more clearly see oneself by examining a world far removed from one’s own. Coming back to one’s own world with an objective awareness somehow makes problems visible, the first step in solving them. As a voice for K-12 educators across the state, I hope to improve what we are doing through sharing! At the end of each blog post, I will try to make a list of take aways, insights gleaned. I am so excited to see what this adventure has in store.