Working on Work

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Welcome, Mr. Jeremiah!

Please welcome our newest staff member, Mr. Omari Jeremiah, Community-School Coordinator.  Mr. Jeremiah holds a degree in Applied Psychology and has recently worked as an ESOL Family Liaison in Baltimore City Schools.  As part of a BCPS partnership with Y of Central Maryland, Mr. Jeremiah will coordinate services and programs for students and families of Owings Mills High School, with specific emphasis on our English Language Learners.  He will be a significant collaborator and contributor to our ESOL Program and school community. We are excited about the work ahead.  When you see him in the building, please give him a warm welcome.

 

This week’s Leadership Column is courtesy of Manny Andre:

Most weekday mornings, after a 2nd cup of coffee, I am on Twitter at 5:30am, discussing random education related topics with teachers from around the world. The 15 minute twitter chat is designed to get teachers talking about their craft with others and connect them to like-minded educators. In the 3 years since I joined the #BFC530 community I have looked at my own practice and the practice of those around me with a new lens. I’d like to highly recommend that each of you join, but I’m also aware that it is a crazy undertaking (and I don’t have kids).

Last week, a question was asked that I immediately dismissed as a softball, but it stuck in my head like an annoying song heard on the radio during one’s commute. “If you were suddenly the Secretary of Education, what is the 1st change you would make?” My response ‘address poverty’ seemed light, but at 5:30 a.m. I’m not always running on all cylinders.

Later in the day, something somebody said in passing brought the question back to me and I got to thinking about our current situation and the power it affords. In education we get inundated buzzwords and initiatives and it’s easy to sit back and wait to see what eventually, actually matters to one’s own practice. Even now, as we navigate devices and grading and formative assessment and targeted/ differentiated small group instruction and whatever tomorrow will bring, we make decisions about what will best serve us and what can be left to the side. But then again, what if we had all the power?

I think I’m babbling. I’ll be more direct. I’m talking about risk and how we can wield it. We can be overwhelmed with this year of change which comes after a year of change that is leading into a year of change or we can decide that what we have in front of us is a buffet. We have a grand amount of options in front of us and more support than we are likely to ever receive again in our careers. We have the opportunity to utilize our agency.

What have you always wanted your classroom to look like? How have you imagined giving feedback to students? How close is your current practice to the educator you thought you were going to be when you started? We get to use all of the change going on around us as cover to work on our work in a way most professions don’t allow.

This year alone, we have had 2 Lighthouse Learning Walks (another one scheduled for next week), paid time to plan on a Saturday (another one scheduled November 5th), and visits from our Discovery Ed coach and various Resource Teachers from central office. Its only October. Now is our chance.

Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say we also have the chance to learn from each other. At this week’s faculty meeting Holly Warner spoke about Eagle University’s latest addition, the Peer Learning Walk. It’s based on the #ObserveMe protocol that teachers around the country are using. Do it or not, don’t be afraid to stick your head in a classroom outside of your content from time to time and see what other teachers are doing. Also, don’t be afraid to talk about a failure that you had in your class with other teachers. Our silos are our greatest enemy.

Ok. Babbling over. Go do something different.

For more information on #BFC530 and #ObserveMe, check out these links:

http://www.bfc530.com/

http://robertkaplinsky.com/observeme/

 

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