January ends today, Spring is now only 49 days away. Our Winter benchmarks are over. The new wing in our school is open; complete with a spacious new office, nurse’s room, conference room, additional classrooms and offices. There are a few new bathrooms, but the most exciting feature for my students to see was the new gym. It’s a full size gym. This coming summer the classrooms on my floor will be gutted and updated. Our school is over 50 years old and has gone through many changes, growing along the way.
Once the final rooms are updated, our school’s face-lift will be complete. The physical changes are evident everywhere. Under the new facade our instructional strategies have also been transformed. We’ve moved to a workshop model. Differentiation, core concepts and best practices continue to reshape our instruction. We analyze data all the time, using results to drive instruction.
I think back on my own years in elementary school. Back then, our desks were in rows and we all used the same materials at the same time. Workbooks, textbooks and Weekly Readers were all staples. Computers were not part of the classroom, encyclopedias were used instead of the Internet. We were taught that Columbus discovered America and Paul Revere rode alone. We worked on some projects together, but our instruction was much more “one size fits all.”
As a teacher, I have seen many changes in education over my career. Some have stuck; others were used for a while and then discarded. One thing that has held true is how much time and effort most teachers put into their work. They are willing to try out new ideas, use new tools and find ways to inspire; always looking for what is best for students. I still remember the special teachers and the impact they had on my life. I hope I hold that place for students too. Seasons change, rooms may change, buildings may be reshaped, new ideas and technology will continue to transform how students obtain information, but the heart of the school is teachers.