Teaching with Intention Book Study: Chapter 2

After reading Schroder Shenanigans chapter 1 post last week, I immediately ordered my own copy from Amazon!  Click photo for The Kindergarten Smorgasboard Summer Book Study link.

I started smiling and nodding my head when I read this quote from Shelley Harwayne (2000,2007).

"Classroom practice must be based on richly understood and deeply held beliefs about how children learn to read. In other words, what teachers say and do and how they engage children in reading acts must have theoretical underpinnings. Their practice is not based on a publisher's set of teacher directions or a handbook filled with teaching tips, but on concepts they themselves have examined carefully."

I know I have my own beliefs but as Debbie Miller shared - I had never tried to sort them out and put them into words.  So here it goes...

My "kids" are first. If my lessons don't "quite" go with the basal reader or curriculum map, I ensure their are defensible. Meaning, I can tell someone why I'm doing it and what I expect to achieve from it.  I don't stray from the map because I want to make cute craftivities. I stray from the curriculum because I see something my kids need...  Does it make me a little bit out of alignment with the rest of my team? Sure!  I will make it up with my kids and our detour will make them stronger.

I believe kids are more engaged and take ownership of learning when they have choice.  

I value the quiet time after asking a question before I take answers. I try my best not to shortcut thinking to arrive at the "right" answer. I am a guide...

Everyday, I know I can learn as much from my kids as they can from our day in the classroom.

Relationships are important. I begin building relationships with parents and kids straight away.  How will we learn together if they don't know me and I don't know them?

As my mind was churning about my beliefs, Debbie writes about the importance of aligning your beliefs with your practices.
WHOA! Overwhelming!!  I kept reading and began to relax because she suggested keeping a journal over the course of a school year. (I can do that...especially in a new grade!) Easy Peasy!! She even provides questions to guide you.

And then I read my favorite part of the book so far...

"What if you have district mandates that run counter to your beliefs?
Take the high road. Don't let them defeat you. Do what you have to do; in the end no on can mandate how you feel about children, the ways you interact with them throughout the day, and the things you say and do that reflect who you are and what you believe about teaching and learning."

I shut the book at that point and just smiled. After teaching for 13 years, one can become a little jaded when it comes to mandates and the politics of education. It was nice to see my thoughts on paper from someone I respected...

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