Domain 1: Planning and Preparation, Domain 2: Classroom Environment

It’s All About the View: Revisit, Reflect, and Re-frame

As I close up my remote learning experience and turn my sights towards the fall, I am reminded of an important bet that Jacie and I wrote in our book, “All In: Taking a Gamble in Education.”  In Bet 11, “It’s All About the View”, we pushed our readers to reflect on their school culture.  We questioned whether districts were fostering a culture of yes or no. Our Double Down at the end of the bet prompted each reader to ask themselves… Is there something that you can remove to make room for betterment?  It is my time to revisit, reflect, and re-frame this Bet, and I challenge each of you to do the same.

CALL TO ACTION: OWN your part as a leader for every child and create new opportunities for betterment

REVISIT and REFLECT

The million-dollar question being asked right now is, “What will learning look like in the fall?”  There is no doubt in my mind that I will not agree, nor will I want to teach and learn within all of the constraints and restraints that will be what I call side-effects of #COVID19. That leaves me with more out of my control than within… if that is my view.

I could spend my summer planning what I hope to be.  But I won’t.  

I could reface the curriculum based on remote learning.  But I won’t.

I could fill up with resentment that flexible seating has been removed from my students’  learning space.  But I won’t.

I could have negative conversations about the “What ifs” that surround the unknown.  But I won’t.  

I could fill my community up with my disappointment on how my philosophy for learning and teaching may no longer mirror the execution of what needs to be or will come.  But I won’t.

I could keep revisiting what once was and reflect on what I once did. But I won’t.  It is now time for me to re-frame my thinking.

RE-FRAME

In place of that, I will make room for betterment.  I will look towards the fall with hope.  I will move beyond a dream and plan for what I can do to make a difference in the lives that I am blessed to impact.  Let’s not forget, THEY ARE WATCHING… what view are we creating for them?!  Our children are relying on us to lead them through this time.  We don’t get to step down from that leadership role as adults, especially now. This is not about school boards, administration, and teachers in isolation as educators, this is about our community as role models.  WE, as adults, are leaders with our actions and words, so I ask you… how will you lead?  How will you open up opportunity for betterment? They are watching.

I will give my children (both biological and community-blessed) the summer to be the resilient humans that they are in order to replenish and recharge themselves (never underestimate the resilience in a child).

I will remind them that their mindset is a powerful investment and they themselves must give, in order to gain a return.

I will embrace moments to fill others up and remind them that education is a privilege that each of us is blessed and responsible in supporting.

I will take hold of the unknown and settle my fears by staying focused on the known fact that one way or another I will be able to help children learn, grow, and find purpose in their efforts. 

I will refocus, rephrase, and redirect conversations within the community to re-frame our efforts on positivity for our children.  WE OWE THIS TO THEM! 

I will nurture my own self-care and refrain from apology when I am in need of disconnecting. This cannot be just when I am burnout on life, this must be a way of life!

  • Exercise
  • Increase time with those that care about me
  • Refocus mindfulness
  • Listen
  • Make time to play
  • Rebuild problem-solving skills

I will own my part in my role as a member of this community.  I will own my views and the impact of them on others.  I will own my role as a leader to which goodness, faith, hope, and love are being sought by the children who have just lived through something that no adult can possibly ever understand. I owe this to them.  

Children are truly amazing! It is said that when children are resilient, they are more curious, braver, more courageous, more adaptable, and more able to extend their role into the world.  The one thing that a child needs in order to regain and build resiliency is a strong relationship with a loving and caring adult. Stop and ask yourself, “What am I projecting?” What legacy am I leaving for our children?  How am I owning my part in raising our future leaders? Are you owning your part? Will you be the loving and caring adult building a strong and positive relationship for a child?  Let’s remember,

They are watching.

They are learning.

They are growing.

They are leading… by our example! 

Personal Learning

The Moment

Why did it take a virus to bring the people back together?

– Tom Foolery

This very question, asked by the boy in the video, brings upon a self-reflection, leading to a chain reaction that leaves a lasting impression.  Skies were full of smog and cars zipped by, we did not give a second thought as people died.  As we stayed inside and the earth began to heal, we all were brought together united as steel. – Rob

There it is…that moment when everything seems so clear. When you think the dust is settling and you are about to open your eyes to what feels like the aftermath of a terrible storm.  The world suddenly stops spinning for just a moment and you begin to take another look. 

You sit in silence,

fill with worry,

feeling the fear

the fear of the unknown. -Kristen #COVID19

It was a world of waste and wonder… of poverty and plenty.  Back before we understood why hindsight’s 2020.

– Tom Foolery

The emotions overcome you and you realize that this is no longer your vision. The vision you planned, nurtured, and were about to execute… the one that your heart got swept up in.  Now, your mind is exploding in a full-blown sprint, and you find yourself chasing it down hoping to catch up to what seems out of reach… the reassurance that everything will be okay.  And then the moment begins to fade and a new feeling sweeps over you.  After a long pause, something begins to grow within.  It is like you have to pinch yourself as a reminder that you are there and that you can take control.  This is a moment.  The moment of realization.  One that you open your eyes to when life changes overnight! -Kristen

It is staring you right in the face.  A new idea or possibly a better way.  Something that you never saw coming until it fell straight into your lap or better said, has you in a complete choke-hold.  Yes, that is the moment.  The one that tells you every bit of your being is about to change.  Life as you knew it is taking on a new vision, a new version.  A better version… one of yourself and how you will create an impact.  This is the moment that you “dust off your instincts” and begin to live once again! -Kristen

When we found the cure and were allowed to go outside… We all preferred the world we found to the one we left behind.

– Tom Foolery

“The Great Realization” is now when the 2020 vision was all of a sudden turned upside down, people were quarantined, schools were closed, businesses slowed, and people began to connect with one another.  As relationships strengthened and flourished, we took the time to take walks, breathe the fresh air, and notice that the sky was no longer filled with planes.  At night, stars could be seen, animals were safer, and less cars buzzed past as we sat on our porches enjoying the quiet.

    TO  

Many people approached the scenario with anxiety and apprehension, but soon an Ahh ha moment occurred as we slowed our pace to appreciate one another and our beautiful earth with all of its natural beauty.  When we began to take notice, children began expressing that they missed school and their teachers.  Teachers learned new technologies because they missed their students and classrooms.  The need to connect became apparent, and our focus shifted to what was important… the simplicity of human connection. – Rob

There are moments when “human connection” feels out of reach as we attempt to navigate these uncharted, murky waters.  A new journey with a new path, one that doesn’t have a map, let alone understanding.  It is going to take a village to lift us to higher ground, Life-lines are within reach.  Those lifelines come in the form of colleagues, administrators, students, parents, family, friends, and even strangers.  “Needs” would override “wants” and soon relevance begins taking shape within a learning space that once had to persuade others that technology could find purpose in their learning.  It is here.  Relevance is speaking and with it, purpose is driving out room for doubt.  In turn, interpretation and perception have moved to the forefront of communication begging empathy and understanding to take hold.  How will we merge these two worlds? – Kristen

Could this result in closing the gap between “poverty and plenty” or between those youngsters who are plugged in and those who would much rather have a conversation?  Perhaps, this unwanted pandemic will yield a positive change… even more connections to one another… cultivated relationships… new technologies learned… a more efficient and empathetic… perhaps a kind perspective with grit and perseverance to maintain human connection. – Rob

Click HERE to listen to Rob Read this blog as he intended it to be read 🙂
It is so interesting to hear someone else’s interpretation of your own words. CLICK HERE to listen to my take on things, along with my view on how this blog unfolded. #trust #risk #bettertogether
(if you are viewing from a phone, you may need to click download and then view… and if you know a better way to embed or link this, please teach me! haha!)

Rob Wottawa is currently the Director of Art, ENL, Music, and World Languages in the East Islip School District on Long Island, NY. As a leader, he works to approach all situations with a kind empathetic lens to support the grit that is needed to accomplish the goals of his teams. Since completion of his doctorate in 2015 he has presented his research in New Mexico, Salt Lake City, and Long Island on Advice to First-Year Teachers. He recently completed a study with a Math professor from Stony Brook University on Parents’ Perceptions of Math and Math Education. Personally, Rob shares his time with his wife and two girls on Long Island. Where they love to cook, bake, and read together. In his spare time he enjoys mountain biking, road biking, running, and performing on various instruments. He hopes he can make his family proud!