July 10, 2009
Have you ever wondered if you are teaching in the right school for you? We love the concept that we chose to be teaching where we are. There have been times for both of us when we examined the philosophy of the school we worked in to be sure it meshed with our core belief systems. There have also been times for both of us when we discovered we were unable to serve children as we believed they should be served in the schools where we presided. It was our mentor, Margaret Mooney, who looked us straight in the eyes and said, "If you can't practice your beliefs in the school you are in, you must move schools". At that time, we were being forced to use a scripted program, which did not match our beliefs. We'd grown enough in our ability to assess, diagnose and deliver tailored instruction that we knew we could do better.
This is the perfect time of year to slow down, sift through the fine details of the year and ask, "Am I able to practice my beliefs?" If the answer is "yes", smile and enjoy that feeling that comes when you know you are where you belong. If the answer is "maybe", examine a bit farther to see what you can do to influence decisions in your school and/or your classroom. If the answer is "no", you have a few choices. You can elect to stay and choose to be positive while practicing a vision someone else has for you; you can stay and become one of those negative people that taints the school; you can stay and work to influence the decisions regarding assessment and instruction; or you can start looking for a place that matches your beliefs. Whatever you choose (hopefully not the negative one), enjoy the empowering sense that comes from knowing you made the choice to stay, or go. As with our students, even if the choices aren't plentiful, just knowing we have a choice makes us more motivated and a happier member of our educational community.