Skip to main content

What Makes You A Superhero?

I have introduced you to my youngest son and his literacy antics in earlier posts. After a long week, I came home to a present from my son on top of my laptop computer: a drawing of me as a superhero with a large M on my stomach.

This small gift came at a perfect time as it had been a long week and, like many of you, I had become negative about the state of literacy policy and instructional mandates that teachers were working within. I was working with excellent teachers in my University classes who were grappling with how to actually enact research recommendations into practice when their school was mandating the use of a scripted program. This simple gift reminded me that, even though it may be challenging work at times, we still do have a superpower within all of us to make a difference in the literacy instruction we provide for our students. 

As I require of my students, I sat down and made a list of what I can control and the positive choices I can make to better literacy instruction for students…aka ways to feel like a superhero. Here is a start to that list:

Start by thinking what is right with literacy instruction. We are putting more time and effort into literacy instruction than in the past. While we might disagree with what some of our focus must be on, let’s take advantage it and use it as impetus for our work. 

Articulate my beliefs about working with adult learners and teaching younger students. Remain true to those beliefs and teach with intention and conviction. 

Connect with other like-minded teachers. Build a personal learning network online and support each other as we work to make change in classrooms. 

Make ‘Balance’ my mantra. Continue to learn about and work with the things I ‘have to’ (NYS curriculum, teacher certification exams, etc.) and make them work with what I know is right for students and teachers. It can happen and our daily work is evidence of that.

Start at home and cultivate the love of reading and writing in myself and in my children. 

This is only a start to the positive work ahead, but my superhero portrait is a daily reminder to seek out the good in what I do and remain positive. We do, indeed, make a difference, even if those differences seem small and difficult to find at times. 

As we head into break week, take some time to recharge and reflect. What would your superhero portrait look like? What would you add to the list I started above? How can we reclaim the work we do as educators? Let’s connect!



Popular posts from this blog

An Instructional Coaching Toolkit!

I have a thing for notebooks. And colorful markers. And sticky notes. I use them in all aspects of my literacy teaching and coaching. During coaching conversations, I often find myself providing on-the-spot demonstrations with these tools. I might engage teachers in a brief lesson on phonemic awareness and ask them to sort sounds. I might walk teachers through word building activities so they experience a new way of engaging students. I might introduce books to teachers to model how they might do the same for their students. I might even create game boards on sticky notes as visuals for teachers to support instructional planning. These demonstrations and notes act as instant and tangible tools to further teacher learning.
Over the years, I’ve compiled these artifacts to create coaching toolkits for the teachers I work with. My toolkit for ‘word work’ might include a picture of an anchor chart created with students, a list of words appropriate to the alphabetic feature students are wor…

Focus on Coaching Cycles

At this point in the school year, many of us are deep into our classroom coaching and engaging in coaching cycles with teachers. Just as coaching can look unique from building to building, our coaching cycles are often unique to our coaching context, our purpose for partnering and the goals and needs of each individual teacher: 1:1 coaching cycles, small group coaching cycles, student-centered coaching cycles and more. Each cycle typically has a pre-coaching conversation, classroom coaching/co-teaching/observation and then follow-up conversations as well.You can find theforms and templates I tend to use for classroom coaching here.
For me, my coaching cycles right now are in the context of my graduate education courses. Each week, I engage in a single coaching cycle with each of my students: lesson planning, observing lessons and coaching conversations. We repeat this for ten weeks of the course and the focus of our cycles shift and change over time. We also meet for small-group coac…

Leading By Learning

This summer, I vowed to be intentional in how I spent my time so that when the new school year arrived, I would feel refreshed and renewed. Admittedly, the summer seemed to fly by, but I did carve out time for my own professional learning. I read every day, I wrote in my notebook (almost) daily, tried my hand at gardening, spent time with my kids and just tried to get better at being me. Some days, I killed it. And other days, well….you know. So, as I head into another school year, I know that I need to be incredibly intentional in how I spend my time and ensure that I focus on my own learning as an educator. It is this learning that fuels my work: it lifts my reading spirits, fuels my writing heart and reminds me that leading the learning of others requires that I remain a continual learner myself.
It is this core belief that drives my teaching, coaching and leading this year. I am even more committed to my own professional learning to fuel my work and lead by example. I have purpose…