10 Lessons I’ve Learned in Education

September 19, 2019

Dear Families,

As I contemplated this weeks message, my mind jumped from topic to topic with no real focus. I contemplated numerous topics of importance. I created a list of potential ideas. The ideas ranged from restorative practice in discipline, to the challenges of change, from the importance embracing growth to the latest trends in education. After much processing, pacing, and panic, I decided to share the 10 most important lessons I’ve learned as I navigate the field of education.

  1. Judging a situation from the outside looking in creates a false sense of success. Have you ever witnessed a toddler meltdown in public? Have you ever observed a student in your child’s class struggle with attention? Did you pause today during Field Day after a student melted down and think, “Wow, that child has issues? Have ever filled a Thursday folder, observed the score on spelling test, and thought “Glad that’s not MY child.”? Have you ever listened to the stories from your child as they retell their day and thought is anyone doing anything about THAT student? Have you ever imagined life through that family’s lens and reached out to support them? Have you ever contemplated the heartbreaking conversations that are taking place with teachers and administration? Have you ever reflected on the devastation they battle as they seek ways to help their child?
  2. Students need praise even if they earn an A. In my early years of teaching, I never praised my students for their grades. I never saw the need. If they earned an A, I believed the satisfaction of success should have been enough. Remember that your student needs praise for their efforts.
  3. Students need you to believe in them. Before Maddy was born, I functioned in delusion. I expected my students to achieve academic success with ease. I was, after all, providing a well-structured learning environment, and my lessons followed the 5 dynamics of teaching. Each one included demonstration, guided practice, and independent practice. They were textbook lessons. Then, Maddy blessed our lives. She was anything but a textbook student. I realized, as I watched her battles, how many students my lack flexibility impacted. I realized over the nights of tears with Maddy, that I likely broke the hearts of many of my struggling students. It is gut wrenching to ponder. After watching Maddy battle to succeed and be ignored by many teachers, I vowed if I ever reentered the world of education again, I would always find something to believe in within each of my students. Believe in your child even when they fail a test or score “Approaching” on a standardized test. Believe in them even when they make embarrassing, disruptive, or harmful decisions. It is that belief that brings back their hope and their desire to try again.
  4. When a reaction doesn’t match the situation, you need to ask why. There is always a why. Seek to understand. Generally speaking, the why reveals some kind of fear, worry, or pain.
  5. At one point or another, your child will be THAT child. Don’t judge a parent from the outside looking in. You don’t know their story. You haven’t walked their journey.
  6. Learning to write a well developed thesis demonstrates growth, but so do countless of other average, daily wins.
  7. The student that battles being a bully, more often than not navigates unthinkable pain, heartbreak or abuse.
  8. Sometimes homework has to be ignored for a heart to heart talk. Yes. They might get a zero. Yes. Their grade might drop. That’s OK. It’s one night. Grades can be rebounded. But gaining insight into the heart and mind of your child is priceless.
  9. Expecting immediate success is unrealistic.
  10. You get the lowest level of behavior you expect.

Our SkyView vision and mission is admirable to be sure. But what are we doing to put feet to life-long learning and honorable leadership? Are we sitting with hurting? Walking along side the broken? Embracing the challenges of parenting? Seeking to support our children?

Honored to Serve You All,

Janet Worley