Some light Sunday Evening reading for you all. Something I found while I should have been doing something else…click the link to find the article. It’s not a short read…but I like to share.
The Fragile Success of School Reform in the Bronx
By JONATHAN MAHLER
Published: April 6, 2011
Ramón González’s middle school is a model for how an empowered principal can transform a troubled school, but the forces of reform are now working against him.
First, I absolutely love what I do, and I have a deep seated belief that the way I do it is an ever evolving, fluid entity of its own. My pedagogy and methodologies are rooted in doing what I believe is best for the students, the kids, the fellow human beings under my tutelage. I’m not sure that I can yet call myself a veteran, but in my 11th year in 145, and my 20th working with other people’s children, I believe I have garnered at least a modicum of abilities that should be shared. I have learned as much from those I’ve taught as I have actually taught them, and I enjoy being able to say that. I know I don’t know it all, and there’s nothing wrong with stating that. I am often wrong. I am often ill-prepared. Yet I often achieve quality results, using various measures. I believe my students and their families know I have a genuine interest in how well they develop; educationally, emotionally and socially. I believe my story is not uniquely mine, as I believe I march alongside some of the finest educators I’ve ever met.
We often disagree on methodology, on procedure, on process (and sometimes on footwear); but I think we always agree on outcome. I believe we all want the best for every single student we encounter, no matter the “baggage” the student or family may carry. I believe I am answering the greatest calling to which an individual can respond. We literally shape the future; and that excites and frightens me to my core.
Some of you are aware that I served on a Grand Jury panel for the month of January and half of February, and as a result, without divulging information which could get me arrested, I have been graced with a healthy dose of perspective. I must admit that it is only now that I realize how much I have enjoyed my 36 years of ignorant bliss. The choices we make; the decisions we ponder, the data we attempt to align ourselves with…all only become relevant if we allow them to be. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, and being reminded of that brought back a quote I studied in college by Ralph Waldo Emerson. “For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” Although simple and strikingly obvious, within MS145 it is so apropos. I know I allow the children to “get” to me, both positively and negatively. I know I allow the system to “get” to me, both positively and negatively. I know I allow fellow educators to “get” to me, again, both positively and negatively. I also know that things can only “get” to me if I let them. Although some will disagree, I choose what matters.
Where am I going with this…? Well, I don’t really know right now, but with events around the world unfolding as they are; massive displays of civil unrest and discourse, revolutions in foreign lands, demonstrations in my hometown of Madison, WI and the rest of the Midwestern America. With all of these “things“ happening, I think it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the moment; and right now, if we let it, I believe the moment could easily overwhelm us.
I am confident that I am educating all of my pupils effectively. I question myself and my methods continuously. I research, I discuss, I seek expert advice, I try to make some mistakes and allow others to happen naturally, and I better myself so I may help to better others. I use all the tools I can to enable greatness, discovery, connections and general awesomeness in all of my pupils. I am “all right” with myself and what I do, and I am good at it; and so are you. I hope that fact hasn’t been lost in the stress of binding and aligning. I believe we take our every “today,” and we genuinely attempt to make the most of it. To borrow what will most likely become a new campaign phrase, I believe “we do big things.”